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Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Sportsperson With a Disability - Bethany Firth

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Golden girl: Bethany Firth picks up her Sports Person with a Disability prize from former Ireland cricketers, Kyle McCallan (left) and Andrew White and General Manager of Crowne Plaza, George Graham (centre), after winning three gold medals and a silver at the Rio Paralympics to become Britain’s most successful competitor at the Games.

BETHANY Firth became so big in 2016 that she upstaged a Hollywood superstar. In September as she flew home after her stunning success at the Paralympics in Rio, the 21-year-old swimmer was on the same flight as Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrall.

A large crowd had gathered in Belfast City Airport, not to greet Kim, but Bethany and her three gold medals and silver secured with sparkling performances in Brazil.

It was quite the reception for the modest young woman, who was the most successful member of Team GB at the Games.

 Firth was in fantastic form at the Paralympics. She was a joy to watch as she stepped on to the podium with a big smile on her face time and time again.

The Ards swimming club member, with learning difficulties, began in style  winning the S14 100m backstroke in a world record breaking time of 1:04.05.

And the medals didn’t stop there. They kept on coming as she triumphed in the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley and she earned a silver in the 100m breaststroke.

Video: Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2016 - Carl Frampton clinches top prize at gala night of awards

She said: “I loved being at the Paralympics and to win four medals meant so much to me.”

The year ended with Bethany being awarded the MBE. Now she has another gong - the 2016 Sports Person of the Year with a Disability at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.

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Award 4 - Sports Person with a Disability award. Bethany Firth won the Sports Person with a Disability award, sponsored by Crowne PlazaÊBelfast. She was presented with the award by George Graham, general manager of Crowne Plaza Belfast and former top Ireland cricketers, Kyle McCallan and Andrew White. Bethany Firth with Claire McCollum. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
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Golden girl: Bethany Firth picks up her Sports Person with a Disability prize from former Ireland cricketers, Kyle McCallan (left) and Andrew White and General Manager of Crowne Plaza, George Graham (centre), after winning three gold medals and a silver at the Rio Paralympics to become Britain’s most successful competitor at the Games.
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Award 4 - Sports Person with a Disability award. Bethany Firth won the Sports Person with a Disability award, sponsored by Crowne PlazaÊBelfast. She was presented with the award by George Graham, general manager of Crowne Plaza Belfast and former top Ireland cricketers, Kyle McCallan and Andrew White. Bethany Firth with Claire McCollum. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
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Paralympic gold medallist Bethany Firth has been awarded an MBE for services to swimming.