Leeds Beckett athletes make Paralympics history
12 September 2016 - Simon Gaskell
Leeds Beckett University athletes have made history during the opening week of the Summer Paralympic Games in Rio.
Graduate Dame Sarah Storey became the most decorated British female Paralympian of all time after winning gold in the C5 3,000m individual pursuit cycling on Thursday.
It was her 12th gold medal at the Paralympics since taking part in her first Games in Barcelona in 1992 – initially as a swimmer - and broke a record she previously shared with legendary wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson. She added a 13th gold in the C5 cycling time trial on Wednesday.
Speaking after her record-breaking achievement, Dame Sarah said: “To think I’m above her (Tanni Grey-Thompson) in everyone else’s books is just surreal.”
Elsewhere Kadeena Cox won athletics bronze in the T38 100m on Friday before taking gold in the C4/5 time trial cycling with a new world record on Saturday night.
She then took a stunning gold in the T38 400m in a world record time of 60.71 on Wednesday.
The amazing feats means Kadeena, who graduated with a BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science degree in 2013, is the first Briton since 1988 to win medals in two sports at the same Paralympics after Isabel Barr’s success in shooting and athletics at the Seoul Games.
Kadeena, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis following a stroke two years ago, said: “I said two years ago in my hospital bed I would go to Rio and now I have done that.
“I have showed that whatever the set-backs in life you can do it.”
Sport & Exercise Science student Ali Jawad, meanwhile, took silver in the -59kg class powerlifting after clearing 190kg.
It represented a personal triumph after agonisingly missing out on a medal with a fourth-place finish in London four years ago.
Ali, who has also won medals at the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games over the past two years, said: “It has just been a dream come true.
“I have finally got to say I have completed the whole set of major medals so I’m really happy.”