A golden battle waits for Paralympic swimmer Natalie
1:26pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
NATALIE Jones will have to beat the golden girl of British swimming if she is to add to her Paralympic gold medal collection.
The Chorley-based swimmer will go head-to-head with Great Britain team-mate Ellie Simmonds who, as a 13-year-old, thrilled fans when she won two gold medals in Beijing four years ago.
Since then, Simmonds has largely had the better of Jones, who like her rival, knows exactly what it is like to perform on the biggest stage of all as a youngster.
Jones, who has cerebral palsy, was 15-years-old when she was selected for the Sydney Paralympics.
Since then the Manchester-born swimmer has won medals at every major championship – including two golds at the Athens Paralympics in 2004.
Now aged 27, Jones won the 200m individual medley and was a part of the 4x50m medley relay team.
Her attempts to defend her 200m individual medley four years later in Beijing were dashed by new kid on the block Simmonds and the fact that her swimming cap fell off half way through the race!
She still managed to pick up a bronze medal and did likewise in the 50m freestyle.
Now Jones and Simmonds will renew their battle in the Aquatic Centre in the class six category where they will both compete in the 100m and 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
While Simmonds will clearly be the favourite – she is the world record holder in the 400m freestyle – Jones will be hoping her experience counts in her favour.
Since bursting on to the scene 12 years ago, she has won no fewer than 27 major medals and is a three-time world champion.
But any kind of medal in London would equal her past triumphs – especially as she is up against the golden girl of British swimming.