On Day 11, the penultimate day of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Australia added two more gold medals, and a host of minor medals. With just one day left after today, there is plenty to recap from Saturday’s action.
Aussie Gold Medals
Watson kicks goals in Taekwondo
Janine Watson won bronze in the Women’s Taekwondo K44. It is the first time the sport is being contested, and Watson suffered just one loss for the day.
Aussie track stars spark fire on a wet day
James Turner was first up for Australia on the track today, as he raced in the Men’s 100m T36. An interrupted start to the race, including a false start by another competitor appeared to affect Turner, and he struggled to reach his top gear. He finished in 12.00 to take silver behind China’s Deng Peicheng who finished in a new Paralympic record 11.85.
Deon Kenzie was in the Men’s 1500m T38 as well. Kenzie became the first Australian with cerebral palsy to run 1500m in less than four minutes earlier in the year. In the rain, he wasn’t able to break that mark again, and despite sitting in second for much of the race, he was passed in the final sprint and took bronze, with a time of 4:03.76.
Also in the same race was youngster Daniel Bounty, who finished in sixth in his Paralympic debut, nine seconds behind Kenzie at the age of just 20.
Nicholas Hum broke the Australian Record on his first attempt of the Men’s Long Jump T20. His jump (7.12m) was not enough for a gold medal, but it looked to be enough for silver, until Athanasior Prodromou (GRE) jumped 7.17m on his final attempt to take silver. Abdul Romly (MAS) took gold with a dominant 7.45m, to be well ahead of the competition.
Rheed McCracken placed sixth in the Men’s 800m T34. Despite being a season best, McCracken was outpointed in the early tactical battle, and wasn’t able to recover. As the race opened up, McCracken was too far back for the final sprint, and couldn’t catch Walid Ktila (TUN), Mohammed Alhammadi (UAE) and Yang Wang (CHN) who took home the medals from the race.
Samantha Schmidt was sixth in the Women’s Discus F38 in her first international event. One of three Indigenous Paralympians in the Tokyo 2020 team, Schmidt, who is of Wakawaka and Gubbi Gubbi descent, aged just 19 threw a distance of 30.26m despite very wet conditions. While it wasn’t enough to take home a medal, Schmidt showed plenty of potential and will likely have a long career ahead of her.
Wet track fails to dampen athletic stars
Despite the rain pouring for most of the evening, the athletes on the track were still setting fast times as they passed puddles and pushed through the rain.
The Women’s 400m produced some of the most spectacular results of the day. In the T13 Lamiya Valiyeva (AZE) won with a Paralympic Record of 55.00s. She was ahead of Adiaratou Iglesias Forneiro (ESP) and Kym Crosby (USA) who each finished with personal bests to go with their medals.
In the Women’s T38, Lindy Ave (DEU) had a World Record 1:00.00 to take bronze, just a fraction ahead of Margarita Goncharova (RPC) who finished in 1:00.14 and Darian Faisury Jimenez Sanchez (COL) who finished in 1:00.17 to take bronze in the photo finish.
Rhiannon Clarke’s 1:02.65 was equal to her personal best and the Oceania Record, despite the conditions, but was not enough to figure in the medals.
In the Women’s 100m T42, Italy provided the first medal sweep outside of the pool. Ambra Sabatini came home in a World Record of 14.11, with Martina Caironi in second and Monica Graziana Contrafatto taking bronze.
Ahmad Hindi (JOR) won the Men’s Seated Shot Put F34 with a new World Record of 12.25m. He was 60cm ahead of Azeddine Nouiri (MOR) and even further ahead of Abdulrahman Adbulqadir Fiqi (QAT) who came in to take bronze.
Renata Sliwinska (POL) won the Women’s Shot Put F40 with a Paralympic Record of 8.75m. Nourhein Belhaj Salem (TUN) took silver ahead of Nigeria’s Lauritta Onye who took bronze at age 37.
Aussies on the water? That’s a paddling
While Curtis McGrath was the only gold medalist for Australia, there were other Aussies who competed today with successful outings.
Susan Seipel paddled her way into the final of the K1 200m KL2 final, but was only able to finish seventh in a time of 56.522.
Amanda Reynolds qualified for the Women’s K1 200m KL3 semi final, but was unable to progress. Her time of 53.73 was enough for eighth in the semi final, bringing an end to her Paralympic campaign.
Rolling into fifth with a strong win
The Australian Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team finished their Tokyo 2020 campaign in style, with a strong win over Turkey in the fifth place playoff. The Rollers jumped out to an early lead 23-18 at quarter time.
They extended the lead at half time, pushing it out to 39-24. Tristan Knowles led the way with 31 points, while Shaun Norris played a key supporting role chipping in 23 points of his own.
At the end of the match, the Aussies had finished convincing 74-58 winners over Turkey. As they gathered at centre court, there was a prevailing sense that the team had had a chance to medal, but were unable to convert that potential in the quarter-final.
In the Women’s Gold Medal Match, Netherlands defeated China 50-31. China jumped out to an early lead, 12-9 at quarter-time, but the Netherlands came back with a dominant 12-2 second quarter, and never took their foot off the gas. The Dutch team extended the lead at each of the remaining breaks to finish convincing 19 point winners.
Archers fail to hit the target
The Australian Para-Archery team had their Tokyo 2020 campaign end as they lost to Poland in the 1/8 Elimination Round of the Mixed Open Recurve competition. The Australian duo of Taymon Kenton-Smith and Imalia Oktrininda were unable to book a spot in the quarter-final.
The Aussies were soundly beaten 6-0, but were proud of their effort for the competition. The Aussies were only able to train together for one week prior to the Games, due to the ongoing OCVID-19 lockdown across Australia.
Both have taken it as a springboard ahead of Paris 2024, and are aiming to be back with greater success in three years.
Around the other grounds
In the Wheelchair Tennis, in the Women’s Doubles, Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot (NED) took home gold. It was a comprehensive win over the duo from Great Britain, Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley 6-0, 6-1. De Groot took home her second gold medal of the Games, after winning the Quad Singles yesterday.
The Japanese duo of Yui Kamiji and Momoko Ohtani defeated the Chinese pair of Wang Ziying and Zhu Zhenzhen 6-2, 7-6 to take home bronze at their home Paralympics.
In the Men’s Singles Gordon Reid beat Alfie Hewett in an all-Great Britain final, winning 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in a thriller to take home the bronze medal. Shingo Kuneida (JPN) won gold in a clinical performance over Tom Egberink (NED) 6-1, 6-2 to take home the gold medal.
In the Boccia, Korea took home the BC3 Pairs gold medal with a tiebreak win over Japan, after the scores were 4-4 at the end of five ends. In the BC4 Pairs, Slovakia took home gold, winning 3-2 over Hong Kong.
In the 5-a-side Football, Brazil took home the gold medal after beating Argentina 1-0 in the gold medal match. Raimundo Mendes’ second-half goal proved the difference.
In the Sitting Volleyball, Iran took home the Men’s Gold Medal after a clinical defeat of the Russian Paralympic Committee. Morteza Mehrzadselakjani starred for the Iranians, with 28 points, as the Iranians won in four sets, 3-1.