Why was Ellie Simmonds disqualified? GB swimmer’s disqualification at Paralympics 2021 and appeal explained

Paralympian Ellie Simmonds, who was one of the stars of London 2012, has announced that Tokyo will be her last Paralympic Games

Tokyo 2020 will be Ellie Simmonds’s last Paralympics, the GB swimmer has announced.

Simmonds, a five time Paralympic champion, has been the face of the sport since she made her debut in Beijing aged 13.

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Since then she has competed in London and Rio before her fourth appearance at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

But it hasn’t been the Paralympics 2021 she was hoping for and bows out of the Games without a medal to show for her efforts.

In her last race - the S6 400m freestyle - Simmonds finished fifth and was initially disqualified before an appeal was lodged.

Here’s why she received an initial disqualification in her final Paralympics race, subsequent appeal and a look at her Games record.

Who is Ellie Simmonds?

Born in Walsall, Ellie Simmonds, who has achondroplasia, showed an interest in swimming from an early age and pursued her passion.

At the age of 11, Simmonds and her mother moved to Swansea to take advantage of the city’s world class swimming pool and facilities.

Two years later she was competing at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics - and winning gold in two freestyle events - as her career took off.

Simmonds, who has three sisters and a brother, went on to shine at the London 2012, Rio 2016 and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

She was named 2008 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and was appointed MBE in the 2009 New Year Honours, aged just 14.

A patron of the Dwarf Sports Association UK, Simmonds also holds ambassador roles for The Scout Association and WaterAid.

For her charity commitments and services to Paralympic sport, she was elevated to OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours.

Why was Ellie Simmonds disqualified at Paralympics 2021?

Competing in the S6 400m freestyle in Tokyo, Ellie Simmonds finished fifth and was initially disqualified before a British Swimming appeal was successful.

The reason for her initial disqualification was down to an issue with one of her turns but this was not upheld on appeal.

It means Simmonds finishes her Paralympics career with a fifth placed finish and without a medal at her fourth Games.

Great Britain’s opening ceremony flagbearer had previously come fourth in the SB6 100m breaststroke and fifth in the SM6 200m individual medley in Tokyo.

GB teammate Maisie Summers-Newton, 19, claimed gold in each of those races.

What has Ellie Simmonds said about her Paralympics future?

Ellie Simmonds has been the face of Paralympics GB sport since she made a splash at the Beijing Games in 2008.

Following the S6 400m freestyle race in Tokyo, Simmonds announced her intention to step away from competing again at the Paralympics.

“I think this is going to be my last. I’ll go home and evaluate,” the 26-year-old told Channel 4 following her third and final race in Japan.

“I’m not just saying that because I’m gutted or anything like that. I knew going into these Games this was going to be the last. I don’t think I could go for another three years.

“I’m leaving it at the right time, I love it, I’ve absolutely had a wonderful competition and I’ve loved every minute of it.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for the support. I love the Paralympics and I love absolutely everyone on the team, it’s just been incredible – but I’m looking forward to going home.

“One thing about these Games is you don’t have your family and loved ones in the crowds. For me they’re like my comfort blanket, even though I’ve been going for so many years.”

How many Paralympic medals has she won?

Ellie Simmonds has won eight Paralympic medals - five gold, one silver and two bronze - across four Games from 2008 to 2021.

She began with a bang in Beijing in 2008, striking gold in the S6 100m and 400m freestyle events, at the age of 13.

Simmonds lit up London 2012 with gold in the S6 400m freestyle and the SM6 200m individual medley events in the pool.

She set two new world records on her way to the top of the podium - one of which she had set only earlier that same day in qualifying.

A silver in the S6 100m freestyle and a bronze in the S6 50m freestyle concluded a successful home games for the youngster.

In celebration of her two London 2012 gold medals, two Royal Mail postboxes were painted gold in her honour - one in Aldridge and one in Swansea.

Simmonds defended her SM6 200m individual medley gold at Rio 2016, setting a new world record, and took bronze in the S6 400m freestyle.

In addition to her success at the Paralympics, Simmonds has won 22 World Championships medals - 14 gold, four silver and four bronze - and nine European Championships medals, including seven golds and two silvers.