By Gary Anderson

August 12 - IPC SWIM DAY ONELondon 2012 gold medallist Victoria Arlen has accused the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) of "humiliating and targeting" her following her controversial ban from the World Swimming Championships in Montreal. 

The American, winner of a gold and three silver medals at last year's Paralympics, was ruled ineligible to compete at the Championships which run from today Monday until next Sunday (August 18), following additional testing by the IPC, which it claimed had "failed to provide sufficient evidence of an eligible impairment".

"I'm so heartbroken with what has happened," said the 18-year-old from Boston.

"I feel numb and completely shocked with the turn of events.

"To have trained so hard this past year and come so far only to be humiliated and targeted by the IPC for reasons unknown baffles me.

"Being penalised for maybe having a glimmer of hope of one day being able to walk again is beyond sad."

Arlen was in a similar position before London 2012 after she was initially declared ineligible to compete but an appeal against her expulsion was upheld allowing her to take part.

She claims that the latest decision by the IPC sends out the wrong message to athletes who may one day hope to overcome their disabilities, although she did add that she respects the IPC and its decision.

American Victoria Arlen had been banned from London 2012 but went on to compete at the Games following an appealAmerican Victoria Arlen had been banned from London 2012 but went on to compete at the Games following an appeal

"Being up in Montreal only to have to head home is devastating," she said.

"The definite reasons given to make the ineligible decision come to pass were not clear and do not seem fair.

"Although there is not much I can do I just pray for answers and a reason for all of this.

"Everything does happen for a reason and sometimes these reasons are hard to fathom and explain.

"I continue to have the utmost respect for the Paralympic movement and the IPC and hope that this will not happen to anyone else.

"Nobody should have to go through this."

Meanwhile, the first day of action in the pool saw Britain's Ellie Simmonds continue where she left off in London, as she retained her S6 400 metres freestyle world title with a convincing win in a time of 5mins 24.02sec.

"I'm really pleased with that race and it was a really good time," said the 18-year-old four-time Paralympic champion.

"The Italian girl (Emanuela Romano) came with me on the first 100 which was interesting but I managed to get out on my own and swim my race.

"That was a bit harder in a way because I'm a racer and love to have people with me to race.

"It was a different pressure today as well.

"I was still really nervous but I have felt a lot less pressure than London because that was a home Paralympics."

Ellie Simmonds of Graet Britain receives her gold medal from IPC President Sir Phillip Craven in MontrealEllie Simmonds of Britain receives her World Championships gold medal from IPC President Sir Phillip Craven in Montreal

Simmonds' teammates Josef Craig and Jessica-Jane Applegate also added world titles to their Paralympic golds with victories in the S7 400m freestyle and S14 200m freestyle respectively.

Craig set a world record in the process clocking a time of 4:39.14 to beat his old record of 4:41.13.

Steph Millward finally claimed a major championships gold medal in the S9 100m freestyle.

"That was amazing," said Millward who won five silvers on her World Championships debut in 2010 and four silvers at London 2012 last year.

"Absolutely amazing.

"I would never have dreamed myself to be a freestyle swimmer but now I'm world champion on freestyle.

"It's crazy.

"It's probably my third stroke behind backstroke and butterfly and now I'm world champion."

American swimmers bagged three gold medals on day one, with Rebecca Meyers triumphing in the women's SM13 200m individual medley ahead of world record holder Valerie Grand-Maison, while 22-year-old Courtney Jordan, who served as the US team's flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, won gold in the women's S7 400m freestyle.

In the men's 50m butterfly S5, Roy Perkins, went one better than his performance in London by finishing ahead of Brazilian and world record holder Daniel Dias.

The men's S9 50m freestyle saw Australian Matthew Cowdrey add World Championship gold to his Paralympic crown with a time of 26.76, while teammate Daniel Fox was just 0.03 outside his own world record on the way to victory in the S14 200m freestyle.

New Zealand swimmers Sarah Pascoe and Mary Fisher secured golds in the women's S10 100m freestyle and S11 100m backstroke respectively.

Six-time Paralympic champion Pascoe claimed her second ever world title in a world record time of 1:00:15.

Australian Matthew Cowdrey won gold in the S9 50m freestyle in MontrealAustralian Matthew Cowdrey won gold in the S9 50m freestyle in Montreal

There were also world records for Belarusian Ihar Boki in the SM13 200m individual medley, who shaved nearly three seconds off the time he set at London 2012, clocking 2:03.79, while Russia's 24-year-old world and Paralympic champion Konstantin Lisenkov set a world best of 1:03.32 in the men's S8 100m backstroke.

In the absence of world-record holder and Paralympic champion Oxana Savchenko, fellow Russian Darya Stukalova took gold in the women's S12 100m freestyle in a time of 59.71.

Irishman Darragh Mcdonald added the S6 400m freestyle world title to the Paralympic gold he won last year in London ahead of Colombia's Nelson Crispin and Japan's Kyosuke Oyama, while in the women's S5 50m freestyle Norway's Sarah Louise Rung retained her title in a time of 43.74.

Ukranian swimmers were the dominant force, however, on the first day as they claimed six gold medals overall.

London 2012 champion Maksym Veraksa reclaimed the world title won in 2006 by touching home first in the S12 100m freestyle, while Hennadii Boiko added world gold to his Paralympic crown in the S1 50m backstroke.

It was another Ukrainian gold for Eskender Mustafaiev in the men's S4 50m freestyle, before reigning world champion Dmytro Vynhohradets claimed victory in the men's S3 200m freestyle.

London 2012 Paralympic champion Dmytro Zalevskyy won gold in the S11 100m backstroke and Olga Sviderska bagged a sixth gold for the Ukraine in the women's S3 200m freestyle.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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