Paralympics Day 1: Sarah Storey takes GB's first gold of London 2012 and 8th of career, Mark Colbourne wins silver

Third cycling gold for athlete who won her first Paralympic title in the swimming pool at Barcelona 20 years ago

by Simon_MacMichael   August 30, 2012  

Mark Colbourne after winning Paralympic silver (copyright- Kelkel)

Sarah Storey has got ParalympicsGB's London 2012 campaign off to a perfect start in the Olympic Velodrome where Team GB's cyclists were so dominant earlier this month, winning the first home gold medal of the London 2012 Paralympics as she beat Poland's Anna Harkowska in the final of the Women's Individual C5 Pursuit. Earlier, Mark Colbourne (pictured) had opened the country's account with silver in the C1-C3 1km time trial.

Storey, who had set a new world's best time in qualifying, lapped the Pole with a kilometre still to ride. ParalympicsGB team mate Crystal Lake missed out on a medal herself, beaten in the bronze medal run-off by Fiona Southorn of Australia.

It's the eight gold medal of Storey's Paralympic career, five of those in swimming and three in cycling. Her first two gold medals came in the pool at Barcelona in 1992 when she was aged 14, and she is now competing in her sixth Paralympic Games.

"I always said if I could get off to a really great start that would set me up for the rest of the week and hopefully that's the case," said Storey afterwards.

"The first one's always the hardest to get out of the way and to come away with a gold medal is a dream come true.

"It's a bit of a stage race for me this week," added Storey, who has three more events and could potentially equal Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson's 11 gold medals, a record for a British female Paralympic athlete.

"It's important not to look too far ahead," she added.

Earlier, Mark Colbourne had picked up the first British medal of the Games, clinching silver in the C1-C3 1m time trial behind Li Zhang Yu of China.

Talking about his paragliding accident three years ago, Colbourne said: “I didn't even know if I would ever walk again due to the damage that had been caused to my spine. It was a very slow and worrying time for me and my family.

“We have worked for the last eight months towards this and big thanks to all the coaches who got me in the best shape possible. I'm very happy”