UNIVERSITY of Salford student Hannah Russell won her first Paralympic gold medal in the Women’s S12 100m Backstroke at Rio’s Aquatics centre. 

The student dazzled spectators on Wednesday evening to claim the final gold medal of the evening in convincing fashion, beating the silver medallist by nearly six seconds.

Now a triple Paralympic medallist, Russell broke her own World Record and turned her bronze medal from the London 2012 Games into gold in Rio.

The Surrey-born swimmer was quick off the blocks compared to her rivals, ensuring she never had to look back in a dominant display.

The 20-year-old swam an amazing time of one minute 6.06 seconds which was comfortably faster than Ukranian silver medallist, Yaryna Matlo.

Russell said afterwards: “That felt really fast, I was really happy to get out. It was an amazing crowd and to get a world record is amazing.

“I’ve been training for four hard years and I wanted to execute the perfect race so to do it here is fantastic.”

It has been an excellent Games for Great Britain as they, like the Olympic team, comfortably beat the medal tally set at the home games in 2012.

“This week I’ve been up in the stands watching all my teammates swim,” the young swimmer added.

“It’s been incredible seeing all the medals and personal best times so I couldn’t wait to get in the water.

“I’ve always dreamed about standing on top of the podium, I’ve got lots of family here supporting me so it’s amazing.”

The result leaves GB’s Paralympic team second in the overall medal table with 107 medals – 48 of which are gold.

The Paralympic Games conclude on Sunday September 18.

By Rachel Foy

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