Harry cheers on Paralympic stars

Halstead Gazette: Prince Harry meets former soldier and Paralympic athlete Derek Derenalagi at a visit to the Aquatics Centre Prince Harry meets former soldier and Paralympic athlete Derek Derenalagi at a visit to the Aquatics Centre

Prince Harry has joined the crowds as he cheered on Britain's Paralympic stars - before hailing the "remarkable achievement" of war hero turned discus star Derek Derenelagi.

The royal laughed and joked with the former soldier, who lost both legs in an horrific Afghanistan bomb blast five years ago. The dedicated 37-year-old has become one of the truly inspiring stories of the games, having competed in front of a packed-out Olympic Stadium last week.

Harry came face-to-face with the war veteran poolside as they watched Ellie Simmonds' 50m freestyle qualifier. Fiji-born Derenalagi was initially pronounced dead following the devastating blast in 2007. As he lay in a hospital bed recovering, his resilience meant he became the unwitting inspiration behind the Help for Heroes charity. And he marked an inspiring turnaround last week by performing in the discus, finishing 11th.

Harry spent 45 minutes happily posing for pictures with members of ParalympicsGB poolside. Earlier, he visited the Copper Box to cheer on the women's goalball - which saw Britain beat Denmark 5-0.

Meanwhile, ParalympicsGB were back in the medals as Sophie Christiansen became Britain's first triple gold medallist of the games. The 24-year-old, from Maidenhead in Berkshire, who has cerebral palsy, also secured a British Paralympic record 11 medals in one Games for the equestrian team.

Wheelchair racer David Weir's Paralympic campaign went from strength to strength when he won his second gold in the Olympic Stadium. The wheelchair racer, fresh from his 5,000 metres triumph two days ago, successfully defended his T54 1,500m title in front of a rapturous home crowd.

Great Britain's Paul Blake also won silver in the stadium, picking up the medal in the T36 400m race. There was success too for the women's 4x100m relay team, who won bronze in their race for the T35-38 category.

Simmonds was crowned with her third medal of the games - getting bronze in the 50m freestyle. The 17-year-old star, who has dwarfism, added to her two golds in the pool during an incredible week. Heather Frederiksen wept after securing her first gold medal as she triumphed in the 100 metres backstroke.

Meanwhile, there was double delight in the archery, with Danielle Brown beating fellow Brit Mel Clarke in a tense women's individual compound final at the Royal Artillery Barracks - which went down to the final arrow.

ParalympicsGB now has a total of 79 medals - 23 gold, 30 silver and 26 bronze, just over half-way through the Games.

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