Emily Petricola has become the second Australian gold medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, claiming the top spot on the podium in the Women’s C4 3000m Individual Pursuit after overtaking the defending champion.
The gold medal-winning race from the Queenslander came just moments after fellow Aussie Paige Greco won Australia’s first medal of this year’s Paralympics in the Women’s C1-3 3000m Individual Pursuit.
In her debut Games, Petricola set the track alight in her heat, claiming first place with a new World Record pace of 3:38.061 which allowed her a chance at gold. Defending gold medallist Shawn Morelli of the United States of America came second, crossing the line more than eight seconds later than the Australian to qualify.
Petricola began the 12-lap race trailing her American opponent however it wasn’t for long as the 41-year-old got into front position after three laps – the 750m mark -, and with her head down, never looked back from that point.
On track to chase down her own World Record from hours earlier, Petricola gained a lead of more than seven seconds ahead of Morelli by the middle of the seventh lap – 1875m into the race.
Continuing with the same pace, eventually, during the ninth lap, the Australian overlapped the defending champion to claim the victory before the 10th lap and with just over 600m to go, choosing to pull up and not continue the remainder of the event, the gold medal resulted already confirmed.
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Making her national team debut in 2018 at the Track World Championships, she won a bronze in the 500m Time Trial and silver in the Individual Pursuit, after also breaking a World Record in the qualifying stages.
Since then, Petricola has won four World titles including three in one day at the 2020 Milton UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, the other coming from 2019 Apeldoorn.
Petricola will be contesting the Women’s C4-5 Road Race and Women’s C4 Time Trial disciplines at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics also, looking to continue an already strong start to the competition.
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