Paralympics: Nikita Howarth wins gold, Pascoe gets 15th medal

New Zealand have a fourth Paralympic swimming champion to follow Sophie Pascoe, Mary Fisher and Cameron Leslie.

Cambridge's Nikita Howarth, 17, today won gold in the 200m individual medley in the SM7 category. It follows her bronze in the 50m butterfly S7.


Howarth, New Zealand's youngest Paralympian in London in 2012 at just 13, clocked 2min 57.29s to win by five seconds from Canada's Tess Routliffe. Her time was quicker than that she posted in qualifying fastest for the final.

Her gold takes New Zealand to eight for the Paralympics and helped push the team to a total of 16, two shy of their target and now four short of the ambition of 12 golds in Rio.

"It feels a lot different to come first in a race compared to coming third, but I do quite like both feelings.

I can't ask for more than that," the Cambridge student, who has bilateral limb deficiency, said. "I have been going from strength to strength in training so when I come into a big competition I can smash it, so I am really happy."

Howarth is back in the water tomorrow in the 200m IM SM7.

Sophie Pascoe added a fifth medal to her Rio haul in her final event, taking silver in the 100m freestyle S10. She clocked 59.85s, just five-tenths of a second behind Canadian Aurelie Rivard - who set a Paralympic record - and ahead of France's Elodie Lorandi.

Pascoe is now up to 15 Paralympic medals, the best return by a New Zealander, and one ahead of Eve Rimmer's old mark.

"Aurelie was the better person on the day," Pascoe said. "I gave it everything. I've left everything out in that last race. To be able to back up race after race in five days is pretty challenging in itself."

Pascoe said she was happy with her Games - "it may not have been gold [today] but it's been an amazing week".

The third New Zealand medal of the day came from javelin thrower Holly Robinson.

The New Zealand flagbearer from the opening ceremony was in personal best form winning the F46 category silver, throwing a PB of 41.22m on her fifth attempt. Britain's Holly Arnold won the gold with a world record throw of 43.01m.

"It felt awesome out there," Dunedin's Robinson said. "I warmed up really well and was feeling really good. I opened up with a good distance. I wanted to start off like that and just build on it."

Sailors Andrew May, Rick Dodson and Chris Sharp finished sixth in their only race on the second day, and sit fourth overall behind Australia, Canada and Greece, with seven races left before the medals. One race today was postponed, meaning a testing three races for the trio early tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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