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Howarth claims first Rio gold, NZ's eighth

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/09/2016

Teen swimming prodigy Nikita Howarth has nailed the final of the women's 200m individual medley to claim Paralympic gold at Rio.

Howarth, 17, collected her first gold medal by completing the medley in 2:57:29, five seconds faster than second-placed Canadian Tess Routliffe.

The Waikato native is New Zealand's youngest ever Paralympian, having competed in the 2012 London Games at just 13 years old.

She had already earned a Rio bronze in the women's 50m butterfly.

"I have been going from strength to strength in training, so when I come into a big competition I can smash it," Howarth said.

"When I see how well everyone else on the team is doing, it just buzzes me up and gets me going because it's so exciting."

Sophie Pascoe, who has won three golds at Rio, also continued her dream meet by snaring second in her 100m freestyle final.

The result pulls her further away from Eve Rimmer as the most successful Kiwi Paralympian in history, with nine gold and six silver medals.

She was just five tenths of a second behind Canadian winner Aurelie Rivard.

"I gave it everything, I've left everything out in that last race and that's all I can give," Pascoe said.

"Aurelie was the better person on the day."

On the track, Kiwi flag bearer Holly Robinson threw a personal best to win silver in the women's javelin.

Robinson's fifth attempt of 41.22m was only bettered by British athlete Holly Arnold, who threw a world-record 43.01m.

"I opened up with a good distance which I was happy with, I wanted to start off like that and just build on it," Robinson said.

Elsewhere, teen swimmer Hamish McLean finished seventh in the final of the men's 400m freestyle.

Monday's results take New Zealand's medal tally to 16, including eight golds, five silvers and three bronze.

The nation sits at sixth overall on the medal table after leapfrogging rivals Australia on the sixth day of action.

More than half of New Zealand's total Paralympic contingent of 31 will be participating in Rio on Tuesday, including Howarth and canoeist Scott Martlew.

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