Pearson's golden target
Lee Pearson will secure membership of GB Paralympic sport's most exclusive club if he wins gold at Greenwich Park.
Last Updated: 03/09/12 9:48am
Lee Pearson will secure membership of British Paralympic sport's most exclusive club if he wins gold at Greenwich Park on Monday.
The 38-year-old from Staffordshire contests the Grade Ib freestyle competition knowing that victory would put him alongside Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and swimmer David Roberts on a British record 11 Paralympic golds.
Pearson is unbeaten in the Paralympic freestyle discipline, but he can expect tough competition from Australian Joann Formosa - who beat him in Saturday's individual contest - and Austrian Pepo Puch.
Gold medal number 10 came on Sunday night when the British team of Pearson, Sophie Christiansen, Sophie Wells and Deb Criddle won a fifth successive Paralympic title stretching back 16 years.
The feat was backed up by three individual medals - including gold for 24-year-old Christiansen in Grade Ia - that took the total London medal haul to six with two days of competition still remaining.
The British team triumphed by a landslide margin from Germany in second and Ireland's quartet - Helen Kearney, Eilish Byrne, James Dwyer and Geraldine Savage - third.
In addition to having a 100 percent Paralympic record, they have also never lost in a world or European championship - their combined team score of 468.817 points set a new Paralympic record.
Christiansen, though, was able to savour double gold for the second successive Games after Beijing four years ago, while there were also silvers for Wells (Grade IV) and Criddle (Grade III).
Reflecting on the team victory, Pearson said: "The record from Atlanta, and carrying the team torch on, we are all really, really proud.
"I know the scores suggest there was a big gap between gold and silver, but this has been the best team effort I have known on any team. We fought very, very hard.
"It has been hard work in the arena, but it has also been hard work with all the support staff making sure us and our horses were at our best. It has been a battle.
"This is the strongest team we've ever had, but I also think it has been the toughest gold to get."
Over the moon
Christiansen, who suffers from cerebral palsy, won with a score of 82.750%, and there was a brilliant silver for Kearney, from County Wicklow, and Mister Cool on 76.700%.
Kearney said: "I am so surprised and over the moon that we (Ireland) won team bronze as well.
"We've come a very long way in a short time. In the 2009 Europeans we were struggling to be top 10, and now we are here in London 2012 with the bronze medal."
Pearson has a late afternoon start on Monday, but first up for Britain is 22-year-old Natasha Baker in the Grade II freestyle, aiming to secure her second gold of the Games after Saturday's individual championship triumph.