Sarah Storey had the honour of winning Great Britain’s first Paralympic gold medal of London 2012 yesterday (August 31st).
The 34-year-old put in an impressive performance to win the C5 cycling pursuit final and her eighth gold.
Although the race takes place over a 3km distance, Storey caught up with Polish cyclist Anna Harkowsha at the halfway point so was automatically awarded the victory. The British rider also managed to break the world record for the event during the qualifying rounds and still has a chance of winning a further three medals during the Games.
“I didn’t expect to be able to catch her as quickly as I did,” said Storey.
“Hopefully this race will set me up for the rest of the weekend. I suppose it did look easy but mentally you have to prepare and make it happen. I have to respect all my competitors.”
Storey narrowly missed out on being selected for the Olympics as part of the non-disabled team pursuit squad and her world record time of 3:32.170 would have been good enough for silver at the non-disabled 2012 track world championships in Melbourne.
There was further success for Great Britain on the cycling track in the opening day of the Paralympics, with Mark Colbourne winning a silver medal in the C1-3 1km time trial.
If the Paralympics GB squad is to improve on its Beijing Games performance then cycling is seen as a crucial area. Great Britain picked up 17 golds in cycling at the last Paralympic Games and so far the squad remains on target to continue that success in London.
People enjoying top hotels in London are being reminded by Transport for London to plan their travel carefully during the Paralympic Games, especially as the special Olympic Game lanes remain in use until September 9th.