Tokyo Paralympics: Bethany Firth happy with medal haul after 'different Games'

Bethany Firth
Bethany Firth has won six Paralympic gold medals and three silver medals

Bethany Firth says she was happy with her final medal haul at a "different" Tokyo Paralympics after some "massive struggles" over the past 18 months.

Firth ended the Games with two gold and two silver medals to take her overall Paralympic tally to nine in total.

The 25-year-old won a third successive gold in the S14 women's 100m breaststroke and was part of the GB relay team which won the S14 mixed 4x100m freestyle race.

The Northern Irish swimmer also picked up silvers in the S14 200m freestyle and the SM14 individual medley.

"I've had knock back after knock back and there were so many hurdles to overcome in the run-up that I didn't feel the pressure as much going into these Games," the Seaforde woman told BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound Extra Time.

"I was just proud to be a Paralympian at the Tokyo Games after all the injuries and the uncertainty as to whether the whole thing would go ahead.

"It was a very different Games to what I am used to - Japan has such a different culture and it's amazing to see.

"It was difficult not having my family with me as they support me through all the highs and lows and it was also different not having any people in the crowd.

"It was a lonely Games but the organisers did what they could and they ran it really well."

Commonwealth medal the next target

Firth was particularly pleased to take victory in her "favourite event", the 100m backstroke, on the final full day of competition.

"It was hard because it was the last day and a lot of the other athletes were kicking back and eating pizza by then.

"I had to keep focused as that was the one I really wanted.

"To win the relay as a team was amazing too. We really came together to encourage each other and the vibe was tremendous.

"I have a great team around me and I wouldn't be what I am without them. People just see one or two minutes of a race - they don't see all the build-up that has gone into that race.

"I'm so proud to be part of Team GB and even prouder to be from Northern Ireland. I loved coming home and the reception at the airport. so many people were there to support me and cheer me on. It means so much that the public is behind me as well.

"My next goal is a Commonwealth medal. I have Paralympic, World and European medals so my next goal is the Commonwealths in Birmingham in 2022. That's what I would like to do."

You can listen to Nigel Ringland's full interview with Bethany Firth on Sportsound Extra Time on BBC Sounds.

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