Tully Kearney saw Paralympic gold snatched away from her at the final stroke in a dramatic S5 200 metres freestyle final in Tokyo.
The seven-time World Champion looked set to take victory on her Paralympics debut, before a stunning late surge from Zhang Li saw the Chinese swimmer beat the Brit to the wall at the death.
Zhang had been way off with 100m to go with Kearney leading from the outset, but tore through the closing 50m to pip the favourite by 0.12 seconds and win in a time of 2:46.63.
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Despite setting a new personal best, Kearney could not prevent Zhang from defending the title in Rio five years ago.
The 24-year-old Brit missed out on the chance to contest the Chinese swimmer in 2016 after injury forced her to pull out just weeks before the Games.
“I’m a bit speechless at the moment,” Kearney told Channel 4.
There were question marks over whether I’d ever get to a Paralympic Games, so the fact that I’ve been able to race and win a medal is crazy. After [missing out on] Rio, I thought the Paralympics weren’t going to be possible for me. It’s all down to my amazing team and their support that I’m here – I just swam.
“I’ve not had that much training, I’ve had injuries and things, so for me I think to get here… I was nervous that my finish wouldn’t have been good enough to do the 200m, so to get a PB is just pretty impressive.”
Monica Boggioni took the final podium spot, leaving Kearney’s teammate Suzanna Hext one place outside a medal in more heartbreak for Team GB.
Breaking her own world record in the process, Storey topped the podium ahead of teammate Crystal Lane-Wright in second.
Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby followed up the female pair’s success with a medal of their own, taking silver in the men’s B 4000m individual pursuit.
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Source: Euro Sports