Matthew Cowdrey sets Australian Paralympic record in London
Matthew Cowdrey momentarily allowed the magnitude of his achievement to hit him. The uber-professional swimmer struggled just for a moment to form his words after being asked about becoming the nation’s most successful Paralympian.
MATTHEW COWDREY momentarily allowed the magnitude of his achievement to hit him.
The uber-professional swimmer struggled just for a moment to form his words after being asked about becoming the nation’s most successful Paralympian.
The South Australian secured his 10th gold medal by delivering a storming anchor leg to lead Australia to victory in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
“I am blown away to be honest,” he said.
“It has been an honour to be a part of the sport for past ten years and it is slowly starting to sink in what I have been able to do,” he said.
“But I don’t want to think about that at the moment. I still have a long way to in this meet.”
That he does.
He still has four events to go, including his two pet races.
Cowdrey has also collected seven silver and two bronze medals during his career.
Compatriot Tim Sullivan has won ten gold medals but has no silver or bronze medals to his name.
“Out of all the ten golds, that has got to be up there with the sweetest,” Cowdrey said.
“After going down in Athens (in the event), going down in Beijing, to …. get one at Paralympic level is fantastic for the team.”
Cowdrey also matched Kingsley Bugarin’s national record of 19 medals.
At the track, Kurt Fearnley took silver in an engrossing T54 5000m battle with Great Britain’s David Weir just proving too strong at the death.
Weir’s triumph was a sign the home side’s campaign was kicking into gear as they claimed second spot on the medal table and pushed Australia to third.
Jacqueline Freney provided her coach and dad Michael with the best type of Father’s Day present by collecting her third gold of the Games in the SM7 200m medley.
She set a new world record with her nearest rival finishing 10 seconds behind her.
Simon Patmore produced one of the most courageous performances of the day, clinging on for bronze despite pulling his hamstring halfway through the T46 200m.
“I felt my hammy go around the bend but there was no way I was going to let go and stop,” he said.
Meanwhile Kelly Cartwright lived up to her billing as one of rising stars of the Paralympics by winning the long jump on day four at the London Games.
Already one of the faces of the Australian team, the 23-year-old Victorian boosted her growing profile with the win in front of a packed Olympic Stadium.
Cartwright, who lost her leg to cancer at the age of 15, won Australia’s 12th gold medal of the Games with a jump of 4.38m in the F42/44 final.
“I was really nervous. I went to Beijing but this is a whole different game for me,” she said.
“I was coming in ranked in the top few and I wanted to come out well. I cannot express how happy I am and how relieved I am at the same time.”
The Geelong athlete enjoyed the opportunity to complete her final jump in the knowledge her maiden Paralympic title was in the bag.
At Eton Dorney, Erik Horrie put an emotional week behind him to claim silver in the AS class single sculls.
He became a father for the third time on Wednesday and was hospitalised on Friday following a seizure.
“I’ve got a good excuse for missing the birth,” he quipped.
Cartwright’s and Horrie’s performances followed a super Saturday for Australia’s athletes with four gold medals in four different sports.
Sprinter Evan O’Hanlon provided the headline act at the Olympic Stadium by defending his 100m title in a world record time of 10.79 seconds.
Cyclist Michael Gallagher and swimmer Blake Cochrane continued Australia’s success at the velodrome and in the pool while Joann Formosa pulled off a stunning victory at the equestrian.
The performances kept Great Britain at bay but the hosts are poised to overtake Australia in the coming days.
One of Australia’s greatest Paralympians Libby Kosmala called it a day after attending her 12th Games, the 70-year-old shooter first turning out at a Paralympics in 1968.
There was heartache for a devastated Grace Bowman at the equestrian, she tearfully pulled out of her final competition after the horse she was riding was spooked for the second straight Games.
Bowman became a paraplegic at the age of 12 after being thrown from a horse and three years later her mother died when crushed by a horse. – AAP