British Paralympic starlet Eleanor Simmonds wowed the Manchester Aquatics Centre crowd with a stunning new world record in the S6 100m freestyle as Great Britain’s swimmers dominated proceedings in the pool on the final day of the BT Paralympic World Cup.
The 14-year-old’s time of 1:16.21 was a full two and a half seconds better than her previous best and four seconds ahead of her nearest rivals Natalie Jones as she claimed the first British gold medal of nine in a highly successful day for the home nation.
There were 18 medals in total for Great Britain as they carried on their fine form of Beijing, with other notable successes including 100m freestyle and a clean sweep of the medals in the women’s S9 50m freestyle led by Louise Watkin.
South Africa’s Natalie Du Toit, who last year became the first female amputee swimmer ever to qualify for the Olympics, was also a winner in Manchester in the S9 100m freestyle, as the fifth annual BT Paralympic World Cup was brought to a close in fitting style.
It was Simmonds though that took all the plaudits as the 2008 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year showed the world her class once again.
“I didn’t think I could get a world record in that event,” Simmonds admitted.
“It’s not my favourite, I prefer the 400m free, so to break the world record in my second event and to take two seconds off my PB is really good.
“For everyone to come to Manchester for the BT Paralympic World Cup is brilliant. Hopefully this is getting British swimmers used to these sort of surroundings for London and then hopefully by London everyone will turn out to watch us all
The last six days have seen top international competition and over 400 athletes from 31 countries around the globe have raised the bar even higher as they start on their journeys to London 2012.
Key highlights include a world record for Jody Cundy at the Velodrome, British athlete David Weir taking double gold on the track and ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius setting a T44 100m Championship Record and adding as further gold in the 400m.
The wheelchair basketball competition saw The Netherlands women defend their 2008 title, as 357 medals were awarded to athletes in Manchester across the four sports.
BT is the title sponsor of the Paralympic World Cup; the sponsorship runs up to and includes the 2012 BT Paralympic World Cup.