Brilliant Bethany Firth completes her Commonwealth Games gold and is now on her honeymoon.

Bethany Firth is pure gold. She did it again. Paralympic champion, world and European champion. World record holder. Now add the winner of the Commonwealth Games to the list. This is a complete set. Completed.

hat special sportswoman and what a night at the Sandwell Aquatics Center for the Seaforde swim sensation.

The 26-year-old looked as proud as a punch as Lady Mary Peters wore the gold medal around her neck. From one golden girl to another.

It was an opportune moment as Northern Ireland celebrated their first gold at the 2022 Games and it wasn’t the only memory to cherish. Armagh’s Daniel Wiffen also took silver in the 1500m freestyle in a beautiful environment on the water.

What an exciting week this has been for swimmers in Northern Ireland. Nothing else can match in terms of the Commonwealth: Barry McClements took bronze in the men’s S9 100m backstroke last week before Firth and Wiffen hit the big stage now.

Swimming began at the Commonwealth Games in 1930. Prior to this, Northern Ireland had never won a medal in the sport. You wait 92 years, and then three at once!

And don’t forget Daniel Hill’s encouraging performances. Between Bethany’s and Daniel’s races, she finished seventh in the final 50m backstroke.

Since being included in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the S14 200m freestyle has been a huge target for Firth. She even postponed her East Asian honeymoon with her new husband, Andrew, to prepare for the story that meant so much to her.

Firth took control of the race from the start, winning in a time of 2:07.02 ahead of the English duo Jessica-Jane Applegate (2:08.56) and Louise Fiddis (2:11.22).

The victory means the star of the Ards Swimming Club has won gold at the major championships in Ireland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. She couldn’t help but smile from her face as her family and fans in the arena cheered for the glorious triumph.

Firth’s big break came at the 2012 London Paralympics when she won the gold medal for Ireland in the S14 100m backstroke final at just 16 years old.


Daniel Wiffen showing off his silver medal in the 1500m freestyle

Four years later in Rio, already playing for Great Britain, Firth won three more golds and a silver at the Paralympics. At the rescheduled Tokyo Games last year, she was twice on the podium and won two silver medals.

Several world records were also set, as well as successes at the European and World Championships. And now this. Outstanding.

Always kind, Bethany thanked her family, Team NI swim team, longtime coach and mentor Nelson Lindsay, and the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland (SINI) for their support.

She added: “Because they were announced to include this Paralympic event, it meant a lot to me that they were showing more Paralympic events on this program. I wanted to go out and claim myself as the first woman to win S14, set the standard and show what we can do and hopefully inspire some people.

“I was under so much pressure because it would give me a complete collection. I have Paralympic gold, world gold, European gold, and I didn’t have this gold, so I really wanted to get it.

“I finished it and I can finally go on my honeymoon. It was such a season when I got married, competed in the World Championships (where she won several gold medals), and then came here to finally enjoy some free time.

Places like Bali, Thailand and Vietnam beckon Bethany and Andrew.

“I arranged the wedding and he arranged the honeymoon, so all I had to do was pack my suitcase,” said the Commonwealth Games champion, who says she still has a lot to do as she looks forward to the 2024 Paralympics in Paris .

After receiving her medal from Olympic and Commonwealth legend Peters, Bethany beamed, “This is a memory I will never forget. I was so touched when I saw her there and that Mary gave me my medal was amazing.

“The fact that she got the gold and then I got the gold just shows that even though we are from such a small country, we can definitely compete on the world stage.”

Like Firth, 21-year-old Wiffen praised his family. He said they inspired him to his personal best time of 14:51.79, beating his own Irish record by six seconds and finishing second to Australian Sam Short.

The couple were class apart in this area. They got off to a strong start and were well ahead by the middle of the grueling race. Wiffen was going to win a medal. Gold or silver, that is the question. From 1000m the more experienced Short came out first.

Wiffen, who finished fourth in the 400m freestyle and set a personal best in that sport as well, said: “I am very satisfied. It’s been a massive PB again and we just keep building and building. The goal is always to get the gold, but to walk away with a silver medal, the only one that didn’t happen in Northern Ireland, makes me very happy.

“I was hoping to get a PB here and maybe a podium spot even though I knew it would be difficult, so I’m very happy that I did both.”

Daniel, who starred as an extra on Game of Thrones with his twin brother Nathan, says he is determined to continue his career and win more medals. First, there will be a holiday. He and Bethany totally deserve it.