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Dame Sarah Storey shines as ParalympicsGB enjoys golden start in Rio

Sarah Storey won her 12th Paralympic gold medal in Rio. Credit: PA

Dame Sarah Storey clinched her 12th Paralympic title in Rio to become Britain's most successful female Paralympian of all time, as Great Britain enjoyed a golden start to the the Games.

The 38-year-old swimmer-turned-cyclist surpassed former wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson by winning the C5 three-kilometres individual pursuit in the velodrome.

It capped off a glittering opening day for ParalympicsGB, who won five gold medals - three in track cycling and two in swimming - plus three silvers and three bronze medals.

Sarah Storey celebrates winning gold in the Women's C5 3000m Individual Pursuit Final. Credit: PA

Speaking to ITV News, Storey said: "Twelve gold medals has taken a lifetime to achieve.

"To make other people happy and proud is huge. You know people are with you in spirit which makes it feel fantastic and I just can't thank everyone enough for being so generous with their support.

"To come into cycling, a new career, and learn something completely different and then find out you're better at it than you were at swimming is slightly overwhelming to think about it.

"After London everyone thought I should retire on a high but I knew I could still go faster and today's proved that."

Her husband Barney Storey told ITV News that it was "amazing" to watch the race in the Rio velodrome.

"There’s a huge level of expectation and pressure on Sarah to perform – and she did," he said.

He added it was a special pleasure to be at the Games together with the couple's first child Louisa, who was born in 2013 and was attending her first paralympics events.

“She loved it, as soon as the national anthem started going she started singing Let It Go from Frozen, so she was having a whale of a time," he said.

The honour of Britain's first medal of the Paralympics went to Megan Giglia, who won gold in the C1-2-3 3km individual pursuit minutes prior to Storey.

And Steve Bate and his tandem pilot Adam Duggleby won gold soon after, too, in the 4km pursuit.

Ollie Hynd added gold in the S8 400m freestyle in the swimming pool, before Bethany Firth won the S14 100m backstroke.

Crystal Lane won silver behind Storey, Harriet Lee claimed second place in the SB9 100m breaststroke and Jonathan Fox silver in the S7 100m backstroke.

Stephanie Millward took bronze in the S8 400m freestyle, Jessica-Jane Applegate was third behind Firth and Andrew Mullen claimed third in the S5 200m freestyle.

Megan Giglia on the podium after winning gold in the Women's C1-2-3 3000m Individual Pursuit Final. Credit: PA
Steve Bate (right) and pilot Adam Duggleby celebrate on the podium after winning gold in the Men's B 4000m Individual Pursuit Final. Credit: PA
Bethany Firth celebrates winning gold in the Women's 100m Backstroke S14 Final. Credit: PA
Oliver Hynd on the podium with his gold medal in the Men's 400m Freestyle S8. Credit: PA