Historic night in the pool for Roberts and Britain
SEPTEMBER 14 - BRITAIN tonight equalled the highest number of gold medals it has ever won in the Paralympic Games and, appropriately, it was swimmer Dave Roberts (pictured) who brought up the milestone in the Water Cube.
His victory in the 50 metres freestyle in the S7 category was his fourth victory of the Games, taking his Beijing total to four and was the 11th Paralympic gold medal of his career.
That equalled the total won by fellow Welsh Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and the 28-year-old celebrated by holding up both hands and then a finger to indicate the number of golds he has won.
It was also the 41st gold medal of these Games won by Britain, the same as they won in Sydney in 2000, a total they seem certain to surpass with two days of competition remaining.
They are also in line to become the first British Olympic or Paralympic team to collect more than 50 gold medals at a single Games since the 1908 event in London when the Olympic team won 56.
In winning, Roberts won broke his own Paralympic record time for the second time today in 27.95sec, swimming 0.04 than he had this morning.
Roberts said: “This is the speech I love to give.
"I’ve achieved something very few people have and equalled the record of Tanni Grey-Thompson.
"That is unbelievable.
"It's nice to have won."
Roberts, who has also won four Paralympic silver medals and a bronze for a total of 16, added: "At the end of the day I am a small town bloke from a small valley, but I've got a big heart.
"It's great to be able to do something like that.
"I have been feeling pretty off these last few days, I have had a bit of sore head, so to pull that out was great."
Stockport's Matt Walker took silver in 28.60 to secure a second British podium position.
Britain’s 40th gold of the Games had gone to teenage sensation Eleanor Simmonds who smashed her own world record by seven seconds in 5min 41.34sec to win the 400m freestyle in the S6 category.
The 13-year-old won her second gold of the Games after powering away from the in-form Dutch swimmer Mirjam de Koning-Peper.
She said: “I wanted to break that record but I didn’t think I would break it by seven seconds,” .
“I didn’t know I could go that fast. I just went in there to do a PB [personal best].”
Simmonds won gold in the 100m freestyle on day two, making her the youngest individual Paralympic gold medallist in British history.
Matt Whorwood and Louise Watkin also clinched bronze medals.
Whorwood was third in the 400m freestyle S6 final, a race dominated by Sweden's Anders Olsson.
Olsson led from the off to win by 19 seconds in a world record 4:48.31 while Irishman Darragh McDonald was second.
Whorwood stuck to his race plan to win his second bronze of the Games after he finishing third in the 100m backstroke.
Watkin was third in the 50m freestyle S9 in a race won by South African Natalie du Toit in 29.20, a Paralympic record.
Watkin touched 0.1s ahead of Australian Annabelle Williams to secure her fourth medal of the Games.
It was du Toit's fifth gold medal of these Games.
Watkin said: “That was not expected.
"I have just got my fourth medal from five races and I am extremely happy."