Belfast Telegraph

Ulster golden girl Bethany smashes the world record

By David Young

Northern Ireland's Bethany Firth broke her own world record last night at the Rio Paralympics in spectacular fashion.

The Seaforde swimmer led all the way though the final of the S14 100m backstroke as she powered to her second Paralympic gold medal, having taken gold for Ireland at the London 2012 games.

Speaking pool-side after the race a delighted and breathless Bethany said: "I'm so chuffed.

"I couldn't have done it without all the support from back home, my church, and all the coaches and support staff at the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland who've all been behind me," she said modestly. "It's not just my medal, it's theirs as well."

Bethany's world-record setting Rio gold comes just a year after she was hit by injury - breaking her wrist just before the World Championships.

The 20 year-old - who set a world record in the S14 freestyle event at the Scottish National Championships earlier this year - said her faith in God had helped her make a comeback.

"I'm quite a determined person," she explained. "After breaking my wrist last year I had to come and watch the girls compete - and it really was so hard.

"But I think that God puts challenges in your way, but you've just got to overcome them and realise that he has a plan for your life and you can do anything if you put your mind to it."

Bethany's victory came with a world record time of 1.04.05 seconds, with Dutch swimmer Marlou van der Kulk taking silver, and GB team partner Jessica-Jane Applegate securing bronze.

Belfast Telegraph


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