Bethany Firth MBE was surprised to get an IM medal despite her interrupted training. Picture: John Walton / PA Wire.
Britain’s Bethany Firth celebrates winning the silver medal in the women’s 300m individual medal final at the Tokyo Aquatics Center on the seventh day of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Tuesday August 31, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story PARALYMPICS SWIMMING. Photo credit should read: John Walton / PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use with restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from copyright owner.
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Bethany Firth admitted she “didn’t expect much” when she won her third Paralympic Games medal Won in 2021 with silver in the 200 m IM of the S14 women.
After Firth won silver in the 200 m freestyle and gold in Team GB last week with a world record time in the mixed 4×100 m freestyle relay at the weekend had, Firth was just behind Valeriia Shabalina of the Russian Olympic Committee on Tuesday morning.
Overall, it’s Firth’s eighth Paralympic medal (five gold and three silver) in the 2012, 2016 and 2012 Games.
And it was won despite a shoulder injury hampering her training for the four-stroke race, her surprise being crowned by bronze from Team GB teammate Louise Fiddes, who was initially disqualified after her run and only after an appeal was reinstated.
Firth made a quick start, although the butterfly length ended up being 0.40 seconds behind 2019 World Champion Shabalina.
That had dropped to 1.2 seconds after the backstroke, and Firth was only able to pull this back to 1.12 seconds after the breaststroke.
In the end, she had too much to do in the freestyle length. Firth was beaten with 1.2 seconds of silver but ended almost seven seconds ahead of bronze medalist Fiddes.
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🥇 Valeriia Shabalina 🥈 @ BethanyFirth2 🇬🇧🥉 Louise Fiddes 🇬🇧Two medals for @ParalympicsGB in a dramatic SM14 200m individual medley 💪 # Tokyo2020 # C4Paralympics pic.twitter.com/O8nmUtbRDZ
“(Valeriias) IM is definitely one of their strongest strokes and since I haven’t trained it I wasn’t expecting much, so get a medal and see Louise take the bronze. It was a great night, “said Firth. “I’m just looking forward to Thursday.”
Then she’ll be back in the pool for her signature event, the SM14 100-meter back, in the hope of winning the event for the third game in a row and thereby contributing to the success in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Either way, she will then be able to fly home to her family in Seaforde and admit that her absence in Tokyo was an emotional thought.
“We’re just so proud of her,” said Mama Lindsey on Channel 4. “She didn’t take an (IM) punch with a shoulder injury, so it’s just fantastic to see her with silver.
” We can’t wait to see her and come to the airport to give her a hug. “
Dad Peter added,” Swimming changed her completely, giving her wonderful confidence and tremendous opportunities. It’s amazing. ”
Attention is now focused on Thursday’s backstroke event. The heats begin at 2:16 p.m. BST and the finals are scheduled for 10:10 a.m.
Paralympic gold medalist Liz Johnson, speaking at the Channel 4 studio, concluded, “It’s been a phenomenal swim for Bethany. She knew she would make it, and she looked happier with that silver than her 200m freestyle silver. It still has its best event on Thursday. ”
The Northern Irish competitors who are in action tomorrow are Firth’s swimming colleague from Ards SC, Barry McClements in the SM9 200m medley, Dungannon shooter Phil Eaglesham and the wheelchair basketball star of the Team GB James MacSorley.
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