CYCLIST Sarah Storey and swimmer Jonathan Fox ensured Great Britain’s home Paralympic Games got off to a golden start today.

Former swimmer Storey won the eighth Paralympic gold of a glittering career, dominating the C5 three-kilometre individual pursuit final to such an extent that she caught opponent Anna Harkowska little more than halfway through the race.

Fox, meanwhile, became Britain’s first gold medallist in the pool when he won a thrilling S7 100 metres backstroke trace.

The 21-year-old had lowered his own world record in the heats earlier in the day, dipping under 1min 10secs for the first time.

But he had to fight off Ukrainian Yevheniy Bohodayko, who staged a storming finish in the final before Fox held him off and emerged triumphant.

There was also a silver for Welsh cyclist Mark Colbourne – Britain’s first medal of the Games – in the C1-2-3 1km time trial, while Essex powerlifter Zoe Newson marked her Paralympic debut with an under-40kg bronze and Ben Quilter took an under-60kg judo bronze.

Storey, though, was the star of a day that began with her setting a new world record in the heats.

The Manchester-based performer, 34, added a third cycling gold to her five as a swimmer, a sport that heralded her introduction to the Paralympics in Barcelona 20 years ago.

She has won 19 medals in total across six Games and is scheduled to ride in three more events on track and road at London 2012.

A clean sweep would see her equal wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s British female record of 11 Paralympic gold medals.

‘‘I always said if I could get off to a really great start that would set me up for the rest of the week, and hopefully that’s the case,’’ Storey said.

‘‘The first one is always the hardest to get out of the way, and to come away with a gold medal is a dream come true.

It’s ultimately about riding as fast as I can.’’ Reflecting on his gold, Plymouth- born Fox said: ‘‘In the final it’s all about getting that gold medal around your neck, which I have done, so I am really happy.

‘‘When I turned at 50 metres I was feeling good, but the last 25 my legs blew up. You are always thinking in the back of your mind ’I can see the guy in lane five coming back’ and you are dying inside and you just want to finish it.

‘‘I just stuck to it and hit the wall fast.’’ Quilter, top seed in his weight category, bounced back from a quarter-final defeat against reigning champion Mouloud Noura, winning two repechage bouts before defeating Japan’s Takaaki Hirai in the bronze medal encounter.

‘‘This morning I wanted to go home,’’ Quilter said.

‘‘It was such a long journey back from that. I am not used to losing, and I’ve had the most amazing three years in the build-up to this.

‘‘Seven weeks ago I snapped the cruciate ligament in my knee and severely ruptured the medial ligament on the inside of my knee, so there were massive questions marks over whether I’d even be here.

‘‘To be here and to win bronze is fantastic.’’ Newson, meanwhile, paid tribute to the crowd that roared her to medal success at the Excel.

‘‘It was outstanding out there,’’ she said. ‘‘The crowd just pump you up.

‘‘It was great to have a home crowd and have them behind you. It helps you get along and get stronger.

‘‘I just wanted to get a personal best really on my Paralympic Games debut.’’ Newson had looked unlikely to make the podium after her second lift was chalked off, although a final effort of 88kg was enough to secure third.

‘‘Before the third lift, I was so nervous,’’ she added. ‘‘I didn’t get the second one, but then it was all right.’’