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Bethany Firth explains how her first world title proves 'you can do anything'

Top honours: Bethany Firth (gold) and Jessica-Jane Applegate (bronze) of Great Britain after the women’s 100m backstroke S14 final
Top honours: Bethany Firth (gold) and Jessica-Jane Applegate (bronze) of Great Britain after the women’s 100m backstroke S14 final

By Bradley West

Seven years after winning gold at London 2012, Bethany Firth capped a remarkable comeback from injury by standing on the top step once more, this time with her first ever gold at the World Para Swimming Championships.

Firth, double 100m Paralympic champion, finally ended her world drought in the event by claiming gold in a Championship record time of one minute 5.97 seconds in the S14 100m backstroke.

British team-mate Jessica-Jane Applegate joined her on the podium for the second night running as Firth was overcome by the emotion of having overcome a shoulder injury which required injections for her to keep going over the past few months.

"I only just made the qualifying time for this event," said the Seaforde native.

"I knew I'd make the team but didn't think I'd be able to swim. It's been an amazing journey. I really think if you put your mind to it you can do anything.

"It's about surrounding yourself with positivity and people who encourage you, and it just shows what you can do.

"It was tough out there and it's hard not to get things into your head but the crowd pushed me on to win it."

Victory was even sweeter for Northern Ireland's Firth for having the special nature of a strongly committed and animated crowd at London Aquatics Centre.

The para swimmer, who trains under the guidance of Nelson Lindsay, could hardly contain her joy after everything went so smoothly to plan for her.

She added: "It went better than I expected it to go so I felt good with that. It's so good racing in front of the British crowd.

"There's so many people here and it's so good so just to wear the British flag and be here is amazing."

Sainsbury's is the longest-standing supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury's commitment to helping customers live well for less has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury's commitment to inclusive sport visit https://www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/

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