Rio Paralympics 2016: GB take medal total to 56 after eight golds on day four

Richard Whitehead, Beth Firth and Jo Butterfield won gold as ParalympicsGB picked up 21 medals on day four of the Rio Games, taking their tally to 56.

Whitehead retained his T42 200m title in an impressive 23.39 seconds as fellow Brit Dave Henson took bronze.

Swimmer Firth dominated the S14 200m freestyle to take gold in 2:03.30 ahead of team-mate Jessica-Jane Applegate.

Club thrower Jo Butterfield (F51) then broke the world record to secure Britain's eighth gold of the day.

The other gold medal successes came in the afternoon session, courtesy of the rowing and cycling teams.

It set the tone for a thrilling fourth evening, in which Rebecca Redfern also set a new European record in the SB13 100m breaststroke, finishing in 1:13.81 to take silver.

Thomas Hamer touched home second in the S14 200m freestyle final, while there were bronzes for Amy Marren, Josef Craig and Stephanie Millward.

Whitehead defends Paralympic title

Whitehead, 40, ensured he retained his title with a strong finish to keep South African Ntando Mahlangu in second place.

His teammate Henson took bronze five years after losing his legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan while serving in the military.

"I won gold at the Invictus Games in 2014 and a week later I gave up smoking and thought I'd give Rio a bash," he told Channel 4.

"It just shows you want you can do. People suggested I go for Tokyo but I said I would go to Rio and medal.

"Five and a half years ago I nearly died. I've got my wife and daughter watching at home. Words can't express how thankful I am for their support."

Richard Whitehead hugs teammate Dave Henson after their T42 200m race
Dave Henson (right) competed at the Invictus Games in 2014 before deciding to train for Rio

Butterfield, a former army civil servant who was paralysed after an operation on a tumour on her spinal cord, threw 22.81m to break her own world record.

She and Kylie Grimes, who finished fourth in the same event with a throw of 18.75m, previously played wheelchair rugby, with Grimes representing Britain at London 2012.

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Sport is such a leveller - Butterfield

Analysis

by BBC Sport's Elizabeth Hudson in Rio

Jo Butterfield and Dave Henson both come from military backgrounds but after different careers while serving their country, they both now also have Paralympic medals in common.

Butterfield is now a wheelchair user, paralysed from the chest down, while Henson, the Invictus Games hero, has had to get to used to running on prosthetic blades.

It hasn't been easy but with the assistance of Help for Heroes and the support of British Athletics, they have reached their goals of Rio medals - and the future looks bright for both.

Elsewhere in Rio

Six-time Paralympic champion David Weir celebrated the birth of his son by qualifying first in his T54 400m heat, finishing in 46:66 seconds.

"I was a bit gutted that I didn't see him being born, but I had to come here and do what I do," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

There was disappointment for Sammi Kinghorn who finished sixth in the T53 400m, before being disqualified for a lane infringement.

China's Zhou Hongzhuan took gold with a world record time of 54.43secs, with Chelsea McClammer in second.

ParalympicsGB's flag bearer Lee Pearson made a strong start in the dressage, topping the team test event 1B with a score of 75.280%.

David Weir, who won four gold medals at London 2012, tweeted about the birth of his fourth child
David Weir tweeted about the birth of his son ahead of his T54 400m heat in Rio

Brits go head-to-head in the pool

Bethany Firth celebrating her victory in the women's S14 200m freestyle
Bethany Firth previously represented Ireland at the 2012 Paralympics before switching to Great Britain

The rivalry between Firth and Applegate had already got off to a fierce start on Sunday, with Applegate setting a new Paralympic record in the heats before Firth beat that time by 1.99secs.

Applegate was aiming to defend her Paralympic title, while Firth had already claimed a medal in Rio with gold in the S14 100m backstroke as Applegate won bronze.

The 20-year-old Firth represented Ireland at London 2012, where she won backstroke gold, but switched allegiance to Great Britain after the 2013 World Championships.

Firth dominated the field after a quick start out of the block and despite Applegate's strength as a finisher, it was Firth who took the gold medal as Applegate finished in 2:06.92.

Marren and Claire Cashmore were the first two Brits to compete against each other in the pool, in the SM9 200m final.

Marren's powerful backstroke pushed her up the rankings as she battled through a competitive field to secure bronze in 2:36.26.

China's Lin Ping took gold, finishing in 2:35.64 after a fierce final 50m, while Cashmore finished in eighth.

'I can't deal with the win'

Rebecca Redfern on her way to Paralympic silver in the women's SB13 100m breaststroke
Rebecca Redfern took silver on her major international debut at the 2016 European Championships

Redfern claimed silver in her first Games appearance in a race that saw 15-year-old Fotimakhon Amilova of Uzbekistan set an astonishing world record of 1:12.45.

The 16-year-old Redfern, who is visually impaired, finished inside the previous world record time she set at the 2016 British Summer Championships.

"I can't deal with it at the moment. I'm so overwhelmed and it has been an amazing experience," she told Channel 4.

"I came into the Games not expecting anything and to come out with something is great".

Hamer, who holds the British record in the S14 200m, pushed gold medallist Tang Wai Lok of Hong Kong all the way to finish in 1:56.58, 0.26 seconds behind Wai Lok.

"It's quite sickening at the time - it's nothing, just a fingertip," he told Channel 4.

More medal success in rowing

In the afternoon, Great Britain claimed their best ever rowing medal tally with three golds before adding a further two on the track.

Rachel Morris kickstarted the success in the arms-shoulders single sculls, before Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley won the trunk-and-arms mixed double sculls.

Listen: Emotional Morris on 'unreal' Paralympics gold

The mixed coxed four then triumphed, before Lora Turnham won the B 3km individual pursuit in the velodrome.

The men's C1-5 team set a new world record to take sprint gold, before Neil Fachie won cycling B 1km time trial silver and Sophie Thornhill and pilot Helen Scottadded B 3km pursuit bronze to their 1km time trial gold.

British triathletes Lauren Steadman and Alison Patrick took silver in the PT4 and PT5 respectively, with Melissa Reid also taking PT5 bronze.

Tom Aggar also won bronze in the men's arms-shoulders single sculls to round off a successful morning for ParalympicsGB.

There was success for British wheelchair tennis pair Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker as they beat Chile's Macarena Cabrillana and Francisca Mardones 6-0 6-0 in the women's doubles quarter-finals.

Alfie Hewitt and Gordon Reid also went through to the second round of the men's doubles, while Andy Lapthorne and Jamie Urdkein will compete for a bronze medal on Monday.

Great Britain's mixed coxed four celebrate their gold medal at the Rio Paralympics
Great Britain's mixed coxed four won their country's third rowing medal of the day

Best of the rest

American Tatyana McFadden took gold in the T54 400m, finishing in 53.30secs, two days after claiming silver in the T54 100m.

McFadden, who was born with spina bifida and is paralysed from the waist down, is aiming to medal in seven Paralympic events.

Her compatriot David Brown followed her success in the T11 100m, as he set a Paralympic record of 10.99 seconds to win gold.

Away from the track, Britain's Jonnie Peacock was reunited with the lucky charms he lost after his T44 100m victory.

Peacock lost a St Christopher necklace given to him by his mum and step-dad and a badge that belonged to his grandfather, but they were found on the track and returned to Peacock.

Journalist Joe Hewson shared a photo of Jonnie Peacock's lucky charms, which were found on Sunday
Journalist Joe Hewson tweeted a photo of Jonnie Peacock's lucky charms, which were found on Sunday

Brits to watch on day four...

  • 14:16 BST - Great Britain's David Weir and Richard Chiassaro go in the final of the men's 400m T54 event, with Weir aiming to win the seventh gold medal of his career.
  • 14:45 - Will Bayley aims for gold in the men's singles class seven table tennis. He plays Brazil's Pereira Stroh in the final.
  • 14:50 - Jordan Howe is in the men's 200m T35 final.
  • 14:59 - Wales' Aled Davies, a gold medallist in the F42 discus four years ago, is hoping for more glory, this time in the shot put.
  • 15:00 - There could be a British medal in the boccia as Great Britain take on Thailand with the victors getting the bronze.
  • 15:45 - Sue Gilroy, 43, will be aiming for another British table tennis medal when she faces Serbia's Nada Matic for the bronze medal.
  • 21:40 - Sam Ruddock is hoping to win his first Paralympic medal in the men's F35 shot put final.
  • 22:36 - Jonathan Broom-Edwards of Great Britain is in the men's high jump T44 final.
  • 23:39 - Sacha Kindred targets a medal in his sixth Paralympics in the men's SM6 200m individual medley.
  • 23:48 - Ellie Simmonds defends her SM6 200m individual medley title in the pool.

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