Jacqueline Freney
Jacqueline Freney Clive Rose

Six days, six events, six golds

SIX days, six events, six gold medals.

Golden girl Jacqui Freney is having the time of her life in London, already equalling the record of six gold medals by an Australian at one Paralympics set by Siobhan Paton in Sydney in 2000.

With two events still on her program, Freney, born with cerebral palsy diplegia which restricts the movement of her legs and body, might have to check out the cost of excess baggage for her trip home.

Day six also proved golden for 19-year-old Queenslander Brenden Hall who took four seconds off his own 400m freestyle world record in the S9 category.

While Freney was pocketing her sixth gold, it was the first for Hall who lost part of his right leg after contracting chicken pox as a child.

It may not be his last, however, with the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and medley relay still to come.

Just how many gold medals the pair end up with during their careers remains to be seen.

One person who will have to be content with nine golds from her Paralympic career is Libby Kosmala.

The Adelaide grandmother may not have added to her tally in London, but she did set the record for the most appearances by an athlete in the history of the Paralympic Games.

The 70-year-old shooter, the oldest competitor in action in London, has competed in her 11th and final Games.

Born a paraplegic, Kosmala has actually been to 12 Paralympics, starting as a team official in Tel Aviv in 1968.

She gave up the admin duties and made her debut for Australia in the pentathlon at the 1972 Heidelberg Games in Germany - she had to wait another four years to win her first medal and it was in another sport ... shooting.

"A friend of mine was invited to the rifle range and I went along, and right from the word go I shot straight through the target, so you stick with what you're good at," she said.

And stick with it she did.

The 1984 London Games were particularly successful, winning four gold medals and breaking four air rifle shooting world records - that was not the highlight of her career though.

That came at the 1988 Seoul Paralympics when she and her husband Stan both won gold medals ... for shooting and lawn bowls respectively.

She may be 70, but Kosmala said she had no plans to hang up her gun just yet.

"I'll keep shooting in Australia because it's a lovely sport and I still enjoy it," she said. "I also wouldn't mind staying involved at a national level whether it's in admin or as a judge.

"The sport has been great to me and now I want to give something back."



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