Bethany Firth wins Ireland's first paralympic gold medal

Friday 31 August 2012 20.54
Bethany Firth won the 100 metre backstroke
Bethany Firth won the 100 metre backstroke

Bethany Firth has claimed Ireland’s first medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in taking gold in the women’s 100m backstroke S14 final at the Aquatics Centre.

Firth’s winning time of 1:08.93 was 1.4 seconds faster than the time she qualified with in this morning’s heat.

Bethany Firth, 15,  has enjoyed a meteoric start to her Paralympic career, winning silver in her 100m backstroke event and reaching the final of her two other events at last year’s IPC European Swimming Championships in Berlin.

Since 2009, Firth has competed in numerous able-bodied and disability competitions, with continued success.

Along with her exploits in Berlin, 2011 proved particularly rewarding, with Firth winning a multitude of medals.

Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar said: "This is a fantastic result for Bethany and Team Ireland and I warmly congratulate her on her achievement."

Minister Varadkar said: "She is the youngest member of the Irish Paralympic team and she has enjoyed a meteoric start to her Paralympic career - winning gold in her event tonight and reaching the final of her two other events at last year's IPC European Swimming Championships in Berlin."

Bethany Firth is from Seaford, Co Down, and suffers from an intellectual disability.

Earlier this evening, Laurence McGivern finished eighth in the men's 100m backstroke S9 final in a time of 1:06.11.

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