Belfast Telegraph

Rio Paralympics: Super Dame Sarah Storey bolsters her medal collection

By Matt McGeehan

Dame Sarah Storey won her 12th Paralympic gold medal on the opening day of the Rio Games.

The 38-year-old swimmer-turned-cyclist surpassed former wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as the British female with the most Paralympic titles by winning the C5 three-kilometres individual pursuit in the velodrome.

The honour of Britain's first medal of the XV Paralympics went to Megan Giglia, who won gold in the C1-2-3 3km individual pursuit moments prior to Storey.

Storey qualified in a world-record time of three minutes 31.394 seconds - more than 17 seconds quicker than Crystal Lane in qualifying.

She overtook her team-mate before the halfway point in the final to claim gold.

Lane, appearing in her second Paralympics, won her first medal with silver.

Storey won her first two Paralympic gold medals as a 14-year-old swimmer in Barcelona in 1992.

She insisted a third successive individual pursuit title since switching to the bike prior to the Beijing Games in 2008 would not be a formality. But it was.

Storey's class told in qualifying yesterday morning and she delivered with her seventh cycling gold medal at her seventh Games.

Giglia also clocked a world record in qualifying in 4:03.544, more than eight seconds clear of the United States' Jamie Whitmore, her rival in the final.

The 31-year-old, who suffered a brain haemorrhage in January 2013, said: "It hasn't sunk in yet, all I know is I wouldn't be here without my team, the back up crew behind me here, my family and friends.

"I hope this will be the first of many golds. I've still got three events to go so we'll have to see."

Belfast Telegraph

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