Maisie Summers-Newton added a gold medal to Britain’s tally at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games after winning today’s SM6 200m individual medley.
The Para-swimmer set a world record of 2mins 56.68secs to triumph in the final. Yelyzaveta Mereshko of Ukraine was 1.36 seconds behind her to take silver, while Verena Schott of Germany received bronze.
Summers-Newton went into the Games as the world record holder, but lost this status to Mereshko in the heats. The Briton revealed how a pep talk from teammate Ellie Simmonds inspired her to return to the pool and snatch her record back in the final.
"When I saw my record go Ellie said straight away, you can get it back, and that definitely helped," Summers-Newton said.
Summers-Newton grew up idolising Simmonds, who had to settle for fifth place in the SM6 200m medley. She watched the athlete, who also has achondroplasia, earn two gold medals at London 2012, and began to formulate her own Paralympic dream.
"It’s pretty cool to beat your idol," Summers-Newton added. "She’s such an amazing swimmer and she’s done so much for para-sport. Having her there is really supportive and comforting in a way, knowing she’s done it for such a long time.
"I watched her in London and that was just insane. I think I first met her fully in 2013, I went to watch her at the nationals and I was just inspired. She’s just become an incredible friend."
Simmonds, who acted as Britain’s flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Games, revealed how proud she was to hand over the baton to the next generation of Para-swimmers.
"She's [Summers-Newton] inspiring that next generation now," she said. "She's following in my footsteps four years previously, now she's the one.
"She's the nicest girl in the world. I'm so happy for her. She got, I think, inspired by me and I'm sure so many people watching tonight are going to get inspired by her. She's carrying on that and it's amazing.
"We saw Mareshko do it this morning, I was like 'You can do this.' And she did."
Both Simmonds and Summers-Newton will be racing again in the SM6 100m breaststroke on Saturday.
"I’m really excited about the 100m breaststroke on Saturday now," Summers-Newton said. "I’ve been working so hard on that in training and everything just paid off. I gave it my absolute all and now I’ve got this medal, I’m just lost for words and hopefully I can pull something out the bag again."News Now - Sport News