Sunderland’s Matt Wylie thrilled with Paralympic gold

Matt Wylie celebrates with Timothy Disken, who took silver

Matt Wylie celebrates with Timothy Disken, who took silver

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As a first Paralympic final appearance goes, swimmer Matt Wylie made sure to mark it in style, beating his Australian rival by just four hundredths of a second to take gold in Rio.

Described as the splash and dash event, the 50m freestyle event is over in the blink of an eye compared to other races and demands the individual gets off to a fast start.

This was my chance and I was desperate to show what I could do.

And S9 swimmer Wylie did just that before powering his way to the wall first in 25.95 seconds.

Such was the closeness of the race that just nine hundredths of a second separated gold from fourth place with runner-up Timothy Disken having to settle for silver with 25.99 – the same time Wylie had clocked as the fastest qualifier in the heats.

Victory sees the 19-year-old City of Sunderland swimmer add to the European title he claimed earlier this spring and also continued ParalympicsGB’s golden run in the pool in Rio.

“After this morning’s heats I wasn’t sure if I would win but is just shows that anything is possible at the Paralympic Games,” said Wylie.

“It’s been a bit of a wait for me seeing everyone doing well, people have been smashing it out all week with medals left, right and centre.

“This was my chance and I was desperate to show what I could do.

“I thought Timothy (Disken) got the touch if I’m honest so I couldn’t believe it when I realisesd I had won.

“I’ve only been really focused on the 50m for a season now, so the improvement I’ve made in the year I can’t believe it.”

Wylie’s win followed hot on the heels of Stephanie Millward who stormed to gold in the women’s 100m backstroke S8 final, while there was also a silver for Ollie Hynd in the men’s equivalent and bronze for Ellie Simmonds in the 400m freestyle S6 in yesterday’s evening session.

That takes the total of British swimming medals won in Rio so far to 26, of which nine are gold.

And Wylie, who still has the relay to come, admitted he was loving every second of life in Brazil.

“The venue is good, it’s the biggest capacity crowd I’ve ever swam in front of in my life,” he added.

“It’s really loud, especially when you are walking out. I tried to use that to my advantage.

“The village is great too, everything is just where I need it. The food hall is probably the biggest food hall I’ve ever seen in my life, it’s great. There’s just rows of food, that makes me very happy!

“I just want to thank everyone for all the support over the past few years. People say it’s a four-year cycle but for me, it’s been seven years in the making so just thanks to everyone who has been there.”

You can help #Supercharge ParalympicsGB to Rio 2016 and beyond. Show your support for the team and find out more atwww.paralympics.org.uk/supercharge