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HomeSportSarah Storey wins 17th gold, now GB's most successful Paralympian

Sarah Storey wins 17th gold, now GB’s most successful Paralympian

Sarah Storey has won her 17th Paralympic gold in order to become Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian of all time

The 43-year-old Paralympian has defended the women’s C4-5 road race title that she has held on to since the 2012 London Paralympics to put her one gold ahead of Mike Kenny, the previous record-holder.

Britain’s Crystal Lane-Wright finished seven seconds behind, taking the silver medal.

It was another one-two for Team GB in the men’s C1-3 race as well, with Ben Watson winning his second gold medal and Fin Graham claiming the silver in the awful conditions at Tokyo.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed, I feel like it’s happening to someone else,” Storey told Channel 4.

“I can’t really explain or compute anything about the race, but crossing the line first felt so good.”

This comes after Tom Daley ended his long wait for an Olympic gold medal, 13 years after his Olympic debut in Beijing, with a sublime display alongside newcomer Matty Lee in a nerve-filled men’s synchronised 10m platform event at Tokyo 2020.

Sarah Storey’s gold was her third of the 2020 Paralympics and her eighth Games since she debuted in the Barcelona Games in 1992 as a 14-year-old swimmer.

She won in the individual pursuit on the track before then claiming time-trial gold in order to equal Kenny’s record.

Storey is now in possession of 28 Paralympic Games medals in total and has not won anything except gold since she made her cycling Paralympic debut at Beijing in 2008.

Both Sarah Storey and Lee Pearson added three gold medals to their tallies in Tokyo.

In weather that is more akin to her home near to Manchester, with rain and thick fog making the athletes’ visibility difficult at the start, Storey was at the front pack from the off, alongside Lane-Wright.

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The British pair had allowed for German Paralympian Kerstin Brachtendorf to make a breakaway towards the final moments of the second of the six laps, and the 49-year-old clocked a 25-second lead at the checkpoint.

She extended that advantage to over a minute at the halfway stage, Storey leading the chasing group with Lane-Wright constantly on her rear wheel.

As the rain on the track got even heavier, they were unable to reel Brachtendorf in, the gap opening up by a further 10 seconds after four laps.

Sarah Storey wins 17th gold, is now GB's most successful Paralympian
Storey punched into the air in celebration as she crossed the finish line

But Lane-Wright hit the front of the chasers with a significant level of pace and her burst of energy made all the difference as the pack then quickly caught up with Brachtendorf leaving five riders in contention for the medals at the end of the penultimate lap.

At this point, the British duo found another gear, Lane-Wright and Storey breaking away, opening up a comfortable lead when coming into the finish on the Fuji International Speedway circuit.

Storey punched into the air in celebration as she crossed the finish line in two hours, 21 minutes and 51 seconds.

This comes after images of Tom Daley knitting poolside at the Olympics went viral online, the Olympic gold-medalist diver has shown off his new finished project while raising money for a touching cause.

French Paralympian Marie Patouillet took the bronze, almost two minutes after Storey finished, with early pace-setter Brachtendorf fifth.

“I don’t know if it’s sunk in. It’s something everyone has been talking about since Rio when it became a mathematical possibility with me doing three more events in Tokyo,” Storey told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Paralympic Breakfast.

“But you can’t take anything for granted and although I knew I had the capability to shut down the gap to Kerstin, when your legs don’t feel as good as they have done in the time trial and then the individual pursuit, then you think today is not my day.

“It’s one of those situations where I don’t know whether it will sink in when I get home, or whether it will be in a few months or even never at all.

“I just feel immensely proud and also immensely grateful to have so much support and to have such a great team around me and also a great team back at home. They’re the ones who are able to make this possible by putting me on the start line in a position to go for it, so I’m a little bit lost for words in many ways.”

Lane-Wright’s silver medal was her third in Tokyo, having finished second to Storey in all three of her races.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job :)

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