Disability Sport

Firth and Watson win Paralympic golds – day nine so far

Firth only learned to swim when she was 13
Venue: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 24 August-5 September Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Follow on Radio 5 Live and on the BBC Sport website

Bethany Firth won her third consecutive S14 100m backstroke Paralympic title with a dominant display in Tokyo.

The 25-year-old led from start to finish to beat Russian rival Valeriia Shabalina by 0.93 seconds for her sixth gold overall and a fourth medal of these Games.

Team-mate Jessica-Jane Applegate battled superbly for bronze – her third Tokyo medal.

Firth, from Northern Ireland, had won the title at London 2012 while representing Ireland but switched to represent GB in 2013 and went on to retain her crown in Rio.

Her triumph followed earlier success for cyclist Ben Watson who won his second gold in Tokyo with a brilliant victory over team-mate Fin Graham in the men’s C1-3 road race.

On a day when Sarah Storey won a historic 17th gold medal at the Fuji Speedway, the 32-year-old debutant completed a double having won the time trial on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, after failing to qualify for the semi-finals of the women’s T11 200m, double Paralympic champion Libby Clegg has announced her retirement from the sport.

The 31-year-old won T11 100m and 200m gold at Rio 2016, having taken silvers at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. She is still due to compete in the universal relay on Friday.

Wheelchair tennis player Gordon Reid failed to retain his men’s singles title as he was beaten 6-3 6-2 by top seed and home favourite Shingo Kunieda in the semi-final, while Alfie Hewett lost out to Dutchman Tom Egberink 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

It means the British pair will play off for bronze on Saturday.

Jordanne Whiley missed out in the women’s singles semi-finals, losing 6-4 6-2 to Diede de Groot of the Netherlands and will face De Groot’s compatriot Aniek van Koot for bronze.

Britain’s Emma Wiggs qualified safely for both of her finals as the Para-canoe events got under way at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Wiggs, the reigning KL2 champion, also goes in the VL2 event and won both her heats to advance to the finals on Friday and Saturday.

Former swimmer Charlotte Henshaw joined Wiggs in the KL2 final while Laura Sugar won her KL3 heat.

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