Swimmer Cameron Leslie won gold in the 150m IM in Beijing today to secure New Zealand’s 12th Paralympics medal.
The 18-year-old from Whangarei, who is studying communications in Auckland, said he wasn’t expecting to be so dominant and attributed his medal to hard work at training.
“Bloody awesome. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I don’t really remember much of it. I’m very surprised.”
Leslie said his aim had been to finish in the top five.
“I don’t really know what happened in it. It was just automatic.”
He shot out to a quick lead in the backstroke lap but Spain’s Viente Javier Torres slowly gained on him in the breaststroke.
In the final freestyle length Leslie surged ahead of Torres to finish in a world record time of 2min 33.57sec. The Spaniard was second in 2min 40.11sec.
Leslie, who has a quadruple limb deficiency, said he was thrilled to get a world record time along with the win and was buoyed by the support of the New Zealanders looking on.
Earlier in the day he blitzed the field in his heat to become the fastest qualifier in a time 2min 40.43sec.
Leslie said he might take next year off competitive swimming and play wheelchair rugby instead, but was looking to have a crack at the Paralympics in London in 2012.