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Britain opens gold account as records tumble at London Paralympics

LONDON -- Cyclist Sarah Storey on Thursday stormed to her eighth Paralympic gold, taking the women's C5 individual 3km pursuit after a lightning-quick qualifying time that would have won her a nondisabled title.

The 34-year-old rider's winning performance, which opened the hosts' gold account, came on a day of new world bests in the Velodrome and in swimming, as China took the first gold of the Games in the first day of competition.

Storey, who won five Paralympic swimming golds before switching to the bike in 2008 and winning two more in Beijing four years ago, lapped Poland's Anna Harkowska with just under half of the 12-lap race to go.

The British cyclist earlier clocked a new world best of 3 minutes, 32.170 seconds, which would have won her silver at the World Championships earlier this year and the UCI Track Cycling World Cup at the same venue in February.

That World Cup race, a test event for the Olympic Velodrome, was won by her British compatriot Joanna Rowsell in 3 minutes 32.364 seconds. Rowsell took Olympic gold earlier this month in the team pursuit.

Storey, who was born without a functioning left hand, said afterward: “I always thought that if I could get off to a great start it would set up the week and hopefully that's the case.

“To get the gold medal is a dream come true.”

Fiona Southorn of New Zealand took bronze after beating Britain's Crystal Lane.

In the women's C1-2-3 pursuit medal ceremony China's Zeng Sini broke the world best in qualifying and beat Australia's Simone Kennedy to take gold. Allison Jones of the United States won bronze.

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 Records tumble as mainland takes 1st gold of Paralympics 
Great Britain's Sarah Storey celebrates setting a new world record in the women's individual C5 pursuit qualifying session at the velodrome on the opening day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Park in east London, Thursday, Aug. 30. (AFP

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