Ireland's Bethany Firth celebrates winning gold in the women's 100m Backstroke S14 final at the 2012 Paralympics. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

Happy days: Firth claims Ireland’s first Paralympic gold

The teenager from Downpatrick won the Women’s 100m Backstroke Final this evening.

Updated: 8.52pm

TEENAGER BETHANY FIRTH has won Ireland’s first gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Aquatics Centre.

Her time of 1:08.93 was an impressive 1.4 seconds faster than her qualifying time in this morning’s heats.

The 16-year-old secured a gold medal in the Women’s 100m Backstroke Final this evening.

Earlier today, she had finished second fastest in her heat and fourth fastest overall.

Speaking following her success, Firth said: “The crowd were amazing, I could actually hear them under the water, they were carrying me along and pushing me along and making me go faster, I don’t think I could have done it without the crowds.”

She continued: “It’s amazing, I love it, words can’t describe how I feel right now! I thought I came 3rd and then I saw I was 1st, I was just over the moon.”

Her achievement represents further success, following the acquisition of a silver medal in the 200m freestyle at the European Championships in Berlin last year.

She also earned numerous accolades prior to her exploits in Berlin, including at the DSE National Junior Championships in Sheffield (seven gold medals), the Ulster Championships (two bronze medals) and the UK School Games (a gold and two silver medals).

Read: Paralympics 2012: Lynch chases bronze, Firth storms into backstroke final>

Read: Paralympics 2012: London bombings survivor makes volleyball bow>

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