31 Aug 2012

Pascoe wins gold for NZ at Paralympics

3:29 pm on 31 August 2012

Swimmer Sophie Pascoe has won New Zealand's first gold medal at the Paralympics in London, smashing two world records in the process.

The Christchurch swimmer defended her title in the 200m individual medley, winning in a world record time of 2 minutes 25.65 seconds on Thursday.

The 19-year-old dominated the race, increasing her lead with each turn.

Pascoe beat her own world record, set earlier in the day in the heats when she finished in a time of 2 minutes 28.73 seconds.

Her gold medal adds to the haul of three she won as a 15-year-old at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008.

Coach Rolly Crichton said the difficulties Pascoe has overcome since then, including losing her training pool in Christchurch because of earthquake damage, have prepared her well for London.

"Going to different parts of New Zealand and training, we've learnt to adjust very quickly, so that when you come to places like the Olympics, it's not that hard for us to adjust." Pascoe's next event is the 50m freestyle.

Pascoe's left leg below the knee was amputated after a lawnmower accident when she was two years old.

Southorn wins cycling bronze

In cycling, Fiona Southorn won bronze in the C5 women's individual pursuit.

The Northland cyclist backed up the storming time she posted in the heat, beating Great Britain's Crystal Lane in the ride-off for the final podium spot.

The 44-year-old has competed in three Paralympics. "I'm getting faster with age, so bring on the next one," she said.

British rider Sarah Storey won the 3km individual pursuit to take her eighth Paralympic gold. Poland's Anna Harkowska took silver.

Storey's lightning-quick qualifying time of 3 minutes 32.17 seconds would have won her a non-disabled title, AFP reports.