THE first day of the London Paralympic Games has been a golden one for New Zealand, with swimmer Sophie Pascoe scooping the countries first gold medal.
Not only did the 19-year-old win the S10 200m individual medley, but she broke two records along the way.
She took three seconds off the old mark in the final, where she finished more than six seconds ahead of second-placed Summer Ashley Mortimer.
Northland cyclist Fiona Southorn also won a bronze in the velodrome.
As a 15-year-old old in Beijing Pascoe won four gold medals, and she is racing in six events in London.
“It was quite unexpected,” she told APNZ of her double world record.
“I would have been happy with a [two minutes] 27 but a 25, I’m absolutely stoked. I did all the hard yards before I came here and that’s exactly what I wanted to go out and do.”
Pascoe, who is a below-the-leg amputee, admitted it was special to claim New Zealand’s first gold medal at the Paralympics and thought she might treat herself with a dessert.
She wasn’t getting too carried away with her success however.
“My main focus now is the next five races,” she said. “I came here for six and this is just one so bring on the next five.
“We came here to do the job. We’ve got a team of 24 athletes and we’re all striving to do personal bests. That’s what I came here to do, but to get on the podium is special.
“It probably won’t sink in until the end of the competition.”
Southorn, who has a limb deficiency in her left arm, picked up New Zealand’s first medal of the games with bronze in the C5 individual women’s pursuit.
She improved her personal best set in the morning by five seconds and dominated the bronze-medal rideoff.
“I can’t believe it, no, it’s incredible,” she said. “I’m getting faster with age, so bring on the next one.”
Southorn will compete in the women’s team sprint over the weekend.