Crash survivor smashes Games record

Crash survivor smashes Games record

Great Britain's Josie Pearson celebrates winning a gold medal in the women's discus

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt waits to present the medals for the women's individual H 1-3 road race and was subsequently booed

First published in National News © by

A dedicated athlete has fought back from a horror car crash that killed her boyfriend and left her paralysed to continue ParalympicsGB's gold rush - by smashing a world record.

Josie Pearson, 26, won the discus event in front of a roaring Olympic Stadium, which was sent into raptures once again after the drama of last night.

She was 17 and a promising showjumper when a car crash in 2003 broke her vertebrae, leaving her paralysed.

In hospital, she met Great Britain wheelchair rugby player Alan Ash, who encouraged her to give the sport a go. Five years after the accident she was a ground-breaking Paralympian in the sometimes brutal event dubbed "murderball".

She turned to wheelchair racing, but her track hopes were dashed six months ago due to a cyst on her spine, and she was again forced to change sport.

Now, the determined Bristol-born athlete, who has only been throwing for 18 months, is celebrating after winning gold - Britain's 32nd of the games.

Speaking after the win, she said: "This is the most amazing feeling. I am never going to forget this experience in my life."

She said sport played a "huge role" in her rehabilitation, adding: "I was really sporty before the accident and I knew that after it I had to get as fit as I could to get back into sport. I cannot thank sport enough. To compete in front of a home crowd, to know that everyone is behind you, is amazing."

Earlier, Jeremy Hunt became the latest politician to incur the wrath of the Paralympic crowds when hundreds booed the new Health Secretary. Mr Hunt, who was promoted from his role as Culture, Media and Sport Secretary in this week's Cabinet reshuffle, was roundly jeered as he presented Britain's Rachel Morris with a bronze in the women's cycling road race.

Morris and fellow Brit Karen Darke had earlier tried to cross the finishing line by holding hands, ensuring they each received a bronze medal at Brands Hatch. But officials refused to oblige and it was Morris alone who collected the bronze from Mr Hunt - who was booed by the crowd.

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