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Millward wins first ever gold for ParalympicsGB on day six

Swimming News

Stephanie Millward claimed her first Paralympic title on day six of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

On a day which also saw Matt Wylie win gold and Ollie Hynd and Ellie Simmonds pick up bronzes in the pool, 34-year old Millward stormed to victory in the 100m Backstroke.

Corsham ASC swimmer Millward, who swims in the S8 category, took the final by the scruff of the neck, having qualified fastest from the heats.

She was quick off the block and immediately put some distance between her and the rest of the field, turning more than 2.5 seconds clear at 50m.

Millward pulled further clear in the second half of the race, ultimately touching in 1:13.02 for a new Paralympic record.

She commented: “It’s amazing. Three Paralympic Games and 18 years of multiple sclerosis and here I am with that gold medal I’ve been striving for, for so long.

“I wrote a poem ages ago called MS My War. It said about how we have to keep on striving for winning the war and I think that that swim has just won that war.

“I’ve done all that hard work, for all those years, with the help of the National Lottery, who are fantastic.”

Seventh Paralympic medal of Millward’s career

While victory handed Millward her first Paralympic gold, the Brit – who turns 35 on 20 September – had already scooped six medals at the Paralympic stage.

She won four silvers and a bronze in the S9 classification at London 2012, as well as bronze in the S8 400m Freestyle in Brazil.

But there was no stopping the Brit in her favourite event, having set the world record 1:12.94 at the 2016 British Summer Championships in Sheffield in July.

Millward, who was reclassified from S9 in 2016, was in a class of her own in the final, with Australia’s world champion Maddison Elliott winning silver more than four seconds back in 1:17.16.

Millward’s ParalympicsGB teammate Steph Slater was fifth overall in 1:19.42.

The Preston swimmer only started competing as a para-swimmer in 2013 after nerve damage to her arm in 2010, and has already secured a silver medal in Rio in the S8 100m Fly.

Image credit: SwPix