Pearson eyes historic gold

03 September 2012 / 09:02

Lee Pearson will secure membership of British Paralympic sport's most exclusive club if he wins gold at Greenwich Park.

The 38-year-old, from Staffordshire, contests the Grade Ib freestyle competition on Monday knowing that victory would put him alongside Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and swimmer David Roberts on a British record 11 Paralympic golds.

Pearson is unbeaten in the Paralympic freestyle discipline, but he can expect tough competition from Australian Joann Formosa - who beat him in Saturday's individual contest - and Austrian Pepo Puch.

Gold medal number 10 came on Sunday night when the British team of Pearson, Sophie Christiansen, Sophie Wells and Deb Criddle won a fifth successive Paralympic title stretching back 16 years.

The feat was backed up by three individual medals - including gold for 24-year-old Christiansen in Grade Ia - that took the total London medal haul to six with two days of competition still remaining.

The British team triumphed by a landslide margin from Germany in second and Ireland's quartet - Helen Kearney, Eilish Byrne, James Dwyer and Geraldine Savage - third.

In addition to having a 100% Paralympic record, they have also never lost in a world or European championship. Their combined team score of 468.817 marks set a new Paralympic record.

Christiansen, though, was able to savour double gold for the second successive Games after Beijing four years ago, while there were also silvers for Wells (Grade IV) and Criddle (Grade III).

Reflecting on the team victory, Pearson said: "The record from Atlanta, and carrying the team torch on, we are all really, really proud.

"I know the scores suggest there was a big gap between gold and silver, but this has been the best team effort I have known on any team. We fought very, very hard."