Page last updated at 14:42 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 15:42 UK

Paralympic gold 'for dead mother'

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Swimmer's poignant gold medal

A swimmer from south Wales has won a gold medal in the Paralympics despite the grief of her mother dying.

Liz Johnson's mother Bonnie lost her battle with cervical cancer on the day she arrived in the training camp.

Johnson, 22, from Rogerstone, near Newport, who has cerebral palsy, overcame her sadness to win the 100m breaststroke in the pool at Beijing.

The swimmer dedicated her win to her mother, saying it was testimony to the way she had brought her up.

She was heartbroken when her 53-year-old mother, a teacher, died from cervical cancer in a Cardiff hospital the day she left for training camp at Macau, China.

But Johnson, who won silver four years ago at the Athens Paralympics, promised to carrying on swimming as a tribute to her mother.

Johnson overcome her sadness to win gold for Team GB on Friday.

Liz Johnson after her gold medal win
She taught me to believe that I was no different to anybody else
Liz Johnson on her mother

She immediately dedicated her medal to her mother who first took her to swimming lessons.

Johnson said: "She taught me to believe that I was no different to anybody else.

"I am so happy. This is testimony to the way my mum brought me up."

Her mother first took her daughter swimming at the age of three to help her with her cerebral palsy.

A spokesman for British Swimming said: "Naturally she is upset but she will continue to compete for Great Britain in memory of her mother."

Her aunt Karen Lang said: "She has worked so hard. She would have not had wanted Liz to come back."

On Saturday she will go for gold again in the 50m butterfly - with the 50m freestyle on Monday.

Johnson's cyclist boyfriend Jody Cundy, 29, also rode to gold in the men's LC2 one-kilometre time-trial at the games.

GB storm to gold double in pool
12 Sep 08 |  Paralympics


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