PARALYMPICS: Bethany Firth arrives back in Belfast

Bethany Firth arrives home
Bethany Firth arrives home
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Local Paralympic star Bethany Firth arrived home to a huge welcome on Tuesday at Belfast City Airport.

The Seaforde swimmer made history in Rio, winning three gold and one silver medal, as well as setting two world and one Paralympic record.

Bethany was greeted by hundreds of people tafter she landed in Belfast from Rio, via Heathrow – and also her beloved pet dog, Russell.

The 20-year-old said she was overwhelmed by the homecoming welcome – which included pupils from her old primary school, Longstone PS in Dundonald; members of Ards Swimming Club, where she is a member, other fans and an assortment of media – and thanked the Northern Irish public for their amazing support while she was at the games.

Speaking as she got off the flight, Bethany said:

“I never thought I would get this response when I got home, it’s overwhelming – and I’m really just so thankful for everyone’s support.

“They really brought a little bit of Northern Ireland to Rio for me, and that’s exactly what I needed when I was over there.

“All my races went really well, better than planned, and that made all the hard work and the early mornings worth it.

“I couldn’t have done it without all the support, from my family, and everyone else who was with me over the past few years. Their help got me where I am today.

“Now it will be great to be able to spend some time with my family.”

Elaine Reid, Performance Sport Manager for Disability Sport NI, said:

“Disability Sport NI is delighted that everything has come together so well for Bethany. Her four years of hard work have really paid off – there have been huge sacrifices on her part in that time, and it’s great that she has the rewards to show for it.”