Wednesday 25 August 2021 9:37 am

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics: Dame Sarah Storey wins ParalympicsGB's first gold and moves to within one of British all-time record

Dame Sarah Storey blew away her track cycling rivals to claim Britain’s first gold medal on the opening day of competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Storey, 43, set a new world record to reach the C5 3,000m individual pursuit final and then caught team-mate Crystal Lane-Wright after 1,750m to win the title for a fourth Games in a row.

It was Storey’s 15th Paralympic gold medal, moving her to within one of the British record held by former swimmer Mike Kenny.

“I broke the world record in Beijing [2008], in London [2012], in Rio [2016]and then this morning,” she said.

“It’s been overwhelming to keep having to back that up and I never expected to go as fast as that today.”

As with the Olympic Games which finished earlier this month, the Paralympics is taking place at virtually empty venues as an anti-Covid measure.

“Once you finish racing, it hits you that the stands are actually empty,” added Storey, who was born without a fully functioning left hand.

“Racing in a pandemic is hard. When you want to celebrate with people, you realise you can’t. Of course you can celebrate with the team but there is a bigger team behind us and they are really missed.”

Storey, who won five Paralympic golds as a swimmer at the 1992 and 1996 Games before switching to cycling, has two more events in Tokyo next week.

She will look to defend her C5 road time trial crown on Tuesday and then compete in the road race on Thursday.

Silver was Lane-Wright’s second in as many Paralympics, having also lost to Storey in the Rio final five years ago.

ParalympicsGB tandem pair Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby also won silver in the B 4,000m pursuit.

In the pool, British swimmer Toni Shaw set a lifetime best to claim bronze in the women’s S9 400m freestyle.

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