15 Sep 2008

Paralympic team picks up a 12th medal in Beijing

8:26 am on 15 September 2008

The New Zealand swimmer Cameron Leslie added another gold medal to New Zealand's medal tally with a world record time in the 150 metres Individual Medley at the Beijing Paralympics.

The 18-year-old from Whangarei, who has quadruple limb deficiencies, shot out to a quick lead in the backstroke lap in Beijing but was slowly caught up by Spain's Vicente Javier Torres on the breastroke as the gap closed going into the final length.

But the last lap was Leslie's specialty, freestyle, and he surged ahead of Torres to finish in a world record time of two minutes 33.57 seconds, just over six seconds ahead of the Spaniard.

Cameron Leslie attributes his gold medal to all the hard work he puts in at training and says he may take next year off competitive swimming and play some wheelchair rugby instead.

Half of the team's medals have been won in the pool.

Leslie will race in the 50m freestyle heats this afternoon while silver medallist Daniel Sharp returns to the pool for the 50m freestyle shortly after.

Also in action will be team captain Tim Prendergast in the 800m final as well as Matt Slade in the 200m heats and Southland's Jess Hamill in the shot put finals.

The Wheelblacks restored some pride as they defeated Germany 40-31 after taking a while to get into the game. The Wheelblacks were the defending champions in wheelchair rugby but are out of medal contention with fifth place their best hope.

Captain Dan Buckingham was the top scorer with 11 goals and David Klinkhamer

scoring 10 times. New Zealand plays China in the 5-8 playoffs at 7 o'clock tonight.

New Zealand has five golds and is 18th on the medals table headed by China with 63.

Great Britain has 41 ahead of the United States with 30, Ukraine has 20 with Australia on 18.