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Paralympic sports - 08. September 2008.

Simmonds grabs gold for Team GB

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Teenage swimmer clinches historic gold

Eleanor Simmonds became the second youngest British Paralympic champion in history when she won gold in the women's 100m freestyle (S6).

At 13, Simmonds is the youngest member of the entire British squad in Beijing but she showed huge maturity as she stormed from behind in the final quarter of the race to beat the 39-year-old Dutchwoman Mirjam de Koning-Peper in 1:18.75.

As they approached the final quarter of the race, de Koning-Peper and Mexico's Doramitzi Gonzalez were all in a line, with the gold medal open for the taking.

But Simmonds put in an impressive push to win by half a second from the 2006 world bronze medallist.

“Oh my god,” said the 13-year-old from Swansea. “I was not expecting that. I can't believe you are calling me a Paralympic champion.

“In the last 25m I just got my head down and went for it. I have dreamed of being a Paralympic medallist but didn't think it would happen yet.”

Simmonds is the youngest British Paralympic champion since 12-year-old Joanne Round won a swimming relay gold in Seoul 20 years ago.

A shocked de Koning-Peper picked up the silver as Gonzalez held on for bronze. Britain’s Natalie Jones was fifth.

“My main event is the 400m,” said Simmonds. “Now I am really excited.”

The 400m freestyle (S6) is on Sunday 14 September.
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