Ellie Challis is the youngest member of the ParalympicsGB squad in Tokyo and proved that experience isn’t everything as she claimed a silver medal at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The 17-year-old set a new personal best in the final of the women’s 50m backstroke S3, in 55.11, to take the silver behind Italy’s Arjola Trimi.

And while some might have been overawed at competing on the biggest stage for the first time, Challis relished the occasion.

She said: “I like being the youngest. I’m the youngest, the lowest class, it’s been fun and there’s no pressure on me. So I enjoy every moment, get on with everyone. The whole experience has been great, the Village has been massive – walking into it it’s like a little town.

“I just wanted to enjoy it, smile and have fun with it. Same with this morning, being a middle lane can cause pressure, but I just enjoyed it.

“This whole extra year definitely has benefited me. I’m so glad I’ve had it. I’m a year older, have been training in Manchester, I’ve got amazing coaches and I didn’t really expect anything, making my international debut at 15, and then making my Paralympic debut at 17 was quite a shock.

“I always said Tokyo was the goal, but you never know. Everyone told me Paris, to make it here at 17 was a really happy moment, let alone go home with a silver medal.”

Challis followed Louise Fiddes in winning silver, with the 20-year-old doing so in the 100m breaststroke SB14.

Louise Fiddes won the silver medal in the 100m breaststroke

It had been a tough debut Games for Fiddes up to this point, narrowly missing out on medals in the 200m freestyle and the 100m butterfly, so she was thrilled to get onto the podium at last.

She said: “A few months out for lockdown restrictions, I did what everyone else did, I put a paddling pool up in the garden, attached a bungee to the tree to try and swim. But it has been so difficult to get in the pool, I have been getting more injuries and it is just so many small little things.

“So my times have not been as good and I’ve not been recovering as well. It has been a tough year but after swimming badly in my other events, I am just so motivated now for Paris. But I am so pleased I managed to get a medal here.”

Scott Quin had started the medal rush in the pool on Sunday as he took bronze in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB14.

Quin has had to deal with his fair share of challenges since arriving in Japan, with his dad diagnosed with cancer and his grandmother in hospital back home.

And while there was disappointment at the time he swam, touching home in 1:05.91, Quin was still able to appreciate what he had achieved.

He said: “I am gutted and not getting a personal best hurts me the most but at the end of the day, five years ago I came away with a silver and now I have a bronze.

“It puts life into perspective and I am so humble to race here.”

Elsewhere Hannah Russell could not add to the gold medal she won earlier this week as she finished sixth in the women’s 50m freestyle S13, while ParalympicsGB’s women’s 4x100 freestyle 34-point relay team were disqualified for an illegal changeover after initially finishing fourth.

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