Alannah’s international gold

ALANNAH McKeown enjoyed a golden debut in the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games swimming competition in Newcastle yesterday.

The Belvoir Special School student from Wodonga won her first event, a 25-metre freestyle race, by five body lengths and had a personal best time of 28.7 seconds.

The stunning triumph against three rivals from India thrilled her father Alan, sister Melanie and friend Lizzie Pogson who were looking on at Newcastle University.

“It was brilliant,” Mr McKeown said.

“As a family we’ve had the view that for Alannah we would come up and enjoy the experience.

“For her to win gold is sensational.”

About 2000 athletes from 32 countries are competing in the week-long games.

Alannah, 17, who has Down syndrome, had been recording top times of 32 to 33 seconds.

Mum Judith, who missed Alannah’s win because she is helping with tenpin bowling Special Olympics competition, was stoked.

“I knew that was her event that she had the best chance with,” Mrs McKeown said.

Alannah will now compete in the 25-metre backstroke and do the freestyle leg of the 50-metre medley relay later this week.

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