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Paralympic sports - 11. September 2008.

Raynsford wins historic rowing gold

Helene Raynsford made history today becoming the first ever rowing champion at a Paralympic Games as Britain scooped two golds and a bronze from the four races.

Raynsford wins historic rowing gold in Beijing

The twenty-eight year-old from Surrey dominated the women's arms-only single scull (AW1x) to win by an astonishing 13 seconds, and Tom Aggar led from the first stroke to win gold in the men's arms-only single scull (AM1x).

"It is absolutely amazing," said a delighted Raynsford afterwards. "All I can say about the race is that it hurt."

Raynsford, the 2006 world champion, got a fast start and was already leading by four seconds at the 250m mark. But she continued to pull away from the rest of the field, forcing 2007 silver medallist Luidmila Vauchok from Belarus to settle for silver again.

Raynsford said: "I knew if I could get out of the start as quick as I could and get into the lead I could do it. I said after the world championships last year that I would come back and win gold in Beijing.

“Although I row in a single scull, I am part of the best team in the world. I couldn't have done it without my fantastic support team."

Laura Schwanger of USA finished fast to take bronze while reigning world champion Brazil's Claudia Santos was only sixth.
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