Pascoe stars again for third gold of Games

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 07:52 07/09/2012
Sophie Pascoe
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GOLDEN HAUL: Sophie Pascoe with her third gold medal of the London Paralympics.
Cameron Leslie
Getty Images
OCEANIA RECORD: Cameron Leslie.

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Swimming star Sophie Pascoe has battled sickness to win her third gold medal of the London Paralympics this morning (NZT).

The 19-year-old from Christchurch claimed her third gold and fifth medal in total from the London Games by winning the S10 100m freestyle in a meet record.

Pascoe qualified fastest and set a Paralympic record of one minute 01.17 seconds in winning her heat, but saved her best for the final as she edged Frenchwoman Elodie Lorandi to go under the record, again.

Her time in the final of 1:00.89 was good enough to beat Lorandi by 0.2sm with Pascoe's arch rival, Canadian Summer Ashley Mortimer, who had twice beaten the New Zealander in London, claiming bronze.

After the race, Pascoe revealed she had been struck down by a cold during her two-day break, which had wreaked havoc with her meticulous training schedule.

"I was sick all day yesterday, I was supposed to do training sessions but that was cut out because of the way that I was," she said.

"I am still recovering from that but I felt really good today. It was just a hurdle to get over."

Pascoe, a below-the-knee amputee, eclipses her four-medal haul (three golds and one silver) from Beijing and has now won three golds and two silvers at London.

She said she had not focused on her rivals, rather she had been spurred on to win for her coach, Roly Crichton, who had done a lot of work with her on the 100m freestyle after she had finished fifth in that event in Beijing.

"I couldn't see, I didn't care," she said of Lorandi and Mortimer.

"I just wanted to focus on my own race and get down the other end. It hurt a lot in that last 15m but I wanted it so bad.

"I'm pretty gutted I didn't to the sub-one minute, I would have loved to have done that here, but I'll save that for another day.

"Tonight was just about going out and beating those two girls. As much as we are friends outside the pool, there is a rivalry in the water."

Pascoe still has SB9 100m breaststroke to come, on Sunday morning (NZT).

New Zealand now has 14 medals (five gold, five silver and four bronze) with two competition days remaining.

They've already eclipsed the 12 medals won in Beijing four years ago but are short of the pre-Games target for London, 18.

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Earlier in the pool, Northland's Cameron Leslie set an Oceania record but still finished outside the medals in the S5 men's 50m backstroke final.

The 22-year-old set an Oceania record of 42.88s in the heats to qualify seventh-fastest and chopped a few more split-seconds off that mark in the final, finishing fifth in 42.40s as Brazilian Daniel Dias set a world record of 34.99s.

Leslie, who has quadruple limb deficiency, completes his second Games with a gold medal, having won the SM4 150m individual medley earlier this week and defended the title he won in Beijing.

Auckland's Rebecca Dubber, 19, finished fifth in the S7 women's 400m freestyle final, 11s off bronze medal pace, to complete her swim meet.

Elsewhere, there were no medals for the three Kiwi cyclists competing on the road at Brands Hatch.

Northland's Fiona Southorn was 10th of 15 starters in the C4-5 women's road race, the 44-year-old completing her third Games having claimed her first medal, a bronze at the velodrome in the individual pursuit last week.

Taranaki's Nathan Smith was one of 14 riders in the 40-strong field who did not finish the C1-3 men's road race, while Auckland's Chris Ross finished 18th of 31 starters in the C4-5 men's road race.

A lack of wind in Weymouth meant the 11th and final races of the sailing regatta could not be sailed, so the standings after 10 races were final.

Jan Apel and Tim Dempsey were 10th of 11 crews in the two-person SKUD 18 class, while Paul Francis finished 13th of 16 starters in the single-person 2.4mR.

- The Press

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