Brown handles Games pressure to strike archery gold for Britain

Danielle Brown won Yorkshire’s second gold medal of the Paralympic Games as she successfully defended her individual compound title at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Following on from Hannah Cockroft’s triumph in the 100m in the Olympic Stadium, Brown, 24, from Lothersdale won a dramatic final on the last arrow against her British team-mate Mel Clarke.

The victory completes a unique hat-trick for Brown whose two Paralympic titles sandwich the team gold she won in the able-bodied Commonwealth Games two years ago.

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There could be more Paralympic titles to follow for Yorkshire as double Beijing champion David Stone of Leeds begins the defence of his two road cycling titles today.

And wheelchair sprinter Cockroft also has the T34 200m title to go for tomorrow.

Medals have already been won by the county’s Paralympians in the pool, through Leeds swimmer Claire Cashmore (silver and bronze) and Sheffield’s James Crisp (bronze).

Wakefield’s Robin Womack won a bronze in the men’s shot putt, while Will Bayley and Paul Davies – who train at the British table tennis performance centre at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport – have also medalled.

Brown was the star though on day six of medal competition at the London 2012 Paralympics.

She defeated Beijing bronze medallist Clarke 6-4 in yesterday’s final.

The Britons could not be separated early on, scoring 27-27 in the first set and 29-29 in the second, before three arrows of nine saw Brown, who was shooting first, take a 4-2 lead.

Clarke responded to take the fourth set 29-26 and level at 4-4 to force a fifth.

She required a maximum 10 score on the final arrow to tie, but she shot a seven – her worst arrow of the final – as the pressure told and Brown won.

In the semi-finals, Brown claimed a 6-2 semi-final success over Marina Lyzhnikova and Clarke beat Stepanida Artakhinova, another Russian, 6-0.

Artakhinova claimed bronze with a 7-3 defeat of her team-mate Lyzhnikova.

Afterwards Brown revealed that she had felt the burden of expectation on her shoulders.

She said: “I’ve been really feeling the pressure the last couple of weeks, so to actually come here and manage to keep my head in the right place, I’m chuffed to bits about that.

“It’s been crazy. I didn’t think it would have affected me the way it has.”

Brown was also relieved that she did not have the final shot.

She said: “That helps a lot. My arrows had all gone and she had to play catch-up, as it were.

“It was a 10 to tie the set and then we would’ve had to do a one-arrow shoot off.”

On taking the silver, Clarke said: “It’s unreal. To get through to the final was brilliant.

“To shoot against another Brit in the final was incredible and I shot really well. I’m really proud.”

Paul Blake continued his remarkable family story by winning Paralympic silver over 400m at a packed Olympic Stadium last night. The 22-year-old son of a Star Wars actor and ballet dancer ran a new personal best of 54.22 seconds to claim the hosts’ 14th athletics medal of a prolific Games.

Only a huge world record from Russia’s Evgenii Shvetcov denied the Dorchester athlete, who has cerebral palsy, the T36 title and there was no sign of disappointment for the world champion as he celebrated wildly on crossing the line.

There were shouts of ‘Come on Paul’ as Blake took to his blocks and he was roared round the track by deafening cheers, but there was simply no stopping the imperious Shvetcov, whose time of 53.31secs knocked 0.82s off the previous world record.

Blake’s actor father, also Paul, played bounty hunter Greedo in Star Wars, his mother, Kate, was a dancer with the Royal Ballet and his grandfather played tennis at Wimbledon.

GB football’s hopes of a medal in London were dashed with a 1-0 defeat to Iran yesterday.

Britain’s medal hopes are over in the women’s wheelchair basketball tournament too after they were edged out by Germany 55-44 in the quarter-finals.

Sophie Christiansen became London 2012’s first British triple gold medallist as Great Britain’s dressage riders ended their Paralympic Games in record-breaking fashion.

Christiansen posted her third successive score of more than 80 per cent on Janeiro 6 to claim Grade Ia freestyle gold.