Ellie Simmonds ready to end career in Paralympics after freestyle fifth place

The five-time gold medallist Ellie Simmonds expects Tokyo 2020 to be her final Paralympics.

Great Britain’s opening ceremony flagbearer failed to win a medal in the Japanese capital after she was reinstated into fifth after an initial disqualification in Thursday’s S6 400m freestyle final. Her position was restored after an appeal by Paralympics GB was upheld.

She previously finished fourth in the SB6 100m breaststroke and fifth in the SM6 200m individual medley, with her 19-year-old teammate Maisie Summers-Newton winning each of those titles.

Simmonds won eight Paralympic medals across four Games, having made her debut at Beijing 2008 op die ouderdom van 13. “I think this is going to be my last. I’ll go home and evaluate,” the 26-year-old told Channel 4 after her third and final race in Japan.

“I’m not just saying that because I’m gutted or anything like that. I knew going into these Games this was going to be the last. I don’t think I could go for another three years. I’m leaving it at the right time, ek is mal daaroor, I’ve absolutely had a wonderful competition and I’ve loved every minute of it.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for the support. I love the Paralympics and I love absolutely everyone on the team, it’s just been incredible – but I’m looking forward to going home.

“One thing about these Games is you don’t have your family and loved ones in the crowds. For me they’re like my comfort blanket, even though I’ve been going for so many years.”

News of Simmonds’ likely retirement came ahead of three GB medals at Tokyo Aquatics Centre, including a fifth career gold for Bethany Firth. The Northern Ireland swimmer retained her S14 100m backstroke crown in a time of 1:05.92, with teammate Jessica-Jane Applegate taking bronze, just over two seconds behind.

Firth, 25, has now won the event at three successive Games, moving her on to a total of eight Paralympic medals, having also picked up two silvers in Japan.

Intussen, Reece Dunn collected the fourth medal of his debut Games, adding S14 100m backstroke bronze to freestyle and individual medley golds and butterfly silver. The 25-year-old touched the wall in 59.97, with compatriot Jordan Catchpole 3.23secs slower in fourth.

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