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Arlen stuns Simmonds with a world record
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 09 - 2012

LONDON – US swimmer Victoria Arlen Saturday took Britain Ellie Simmonds' S6 100m freestyle title, swimming to victory in a new world record for her first Paralympic gold of the London Games.
The 17-year-old led from the front to take the race in 1min 13.33sec, more than a second faster than her previous world best, with Beijing champion Simmonds in silver and Tanya Groepper of Germany in third.
Simmonds won both the S6 100m and 400m freestyle titles in Beijing four years ago at the age of just 13. She successfully defended the longer race in London and added the 200m crown as well as a bronze in the 50m.
Arlen was the center of a classification row before the start of the Games, which saw her omitted from the start lists then reinstated on appeal.
Arlen's win was her first gold of the Games, after she took silver in the 50m and 400m freestyle and in the 4x100m freestyle 34 points relay.
On Friday, Ireland's Jason Smyth proved himself as the fastest Paralympian in history by defending his 100m and 200m double from Beijing, while South Africa's Natalie Du Toit swam her final race.
In the Olympic Stadium, Irish sprinter Smyth showed his undisputed class by breaking his own T13 200m world record for visually impaired athletes to win in 21.05sec, less than a week after winning the 100m in another world best time.
The 25-year-old, who has the genetic condition Stargardt's disease, won the same double in Beijing four years ago and at last year's World Championships.
Smyth's victory came before Pistorius went in the heats of the T44 400m for single and double below-the-knee amputees, which as the only athlete in the field who has run under 50sec, he is expected to win.
At the pool, 13-time Paralympic gold medallist du Toit broke down in tears after winning silver in the S9 100m freestyle behind Australia's Ellie Cole.
“It's all over,” said the 28-year-old Du Toit, who was a promising non-disabled swimmer until 2001 when she had her left leg amputed below the knee after a scooter accident.
The Cape Town swimmer's story of courage in the face of a major setback has inspired millions.
Former US Navy lieutenant Brad Snyder is doing likewise, as he won the men's S11 400m freestyle gold for blind and visually impaired swimmers – exactly a year to the day since he was blinded on the battlefields of Afghanistan.
In cycling, more road medals were decided at the Brands Hatch motor racing circuit in southeast England, with another gold for former Formula One and Indy car driver Alessandro Zanardi.
Zanardi, 45, who had both legs amputated after a horror smash in 2001, took the men's H4 time-trial over 16 kilometers Wednesday and followed it up Friday by taking the 64km road race in a thrilling sprint finish.
Elsewhere, Japan beat China 1-0 in the women's goalball final.
London 2012 organizers Saturday promised an emotional celebration to bid farewell to the Olympics and Paralympics. Coldplay will headline Sunday evening's show, entitled “Festival of the Flame”, which will draw heavily on Britain's rich history of cultural, musical and seasonal festivals, artistic director Kim Gavin told a news conference. — Agencies


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