It was another huge day on day five with Australia once again figuring in the medals. Records were smashed in the pool and in the athletics. Some dramatic endings to the triathlon and shot put summed up a massive day of athletic action.
De Rozario is De Champion
Madison de Rozario broke Australia’s two-day gold medal drought in dramatic fashion in the night session of day five, wheeling away to win the Women’s T53 800m final.
Having qualified well in the morning, de Rozario positioned herself perfectly in the first lap, ensuring she didn’t get locked into the inside and blocked from a shot at gold.
But she completely blew her field of competitors away in the first half of the second lap, putting on the afterburners to comfortably take the lead heading into the home straight.
In the end, the Aussie legend cruised home to post a Paralympic record of 1:45.99 and win by nearly two seconds ahead of her competitors and just 0.46s behind her own world record.
Tight finishes on the track
Two of Australia’s leading runners gave it their all in tight finals, with both getting near some incredible winning runs.
Isis Holt was always a medal chance in the Women’s 200m T35 final and was streets ahead of all others when she rounded the bend next to China’s Zhou Xia for the final 100m.
Holt looked to be headed for a gold medal, only for Zhou to find another gear and power past to top the podium with a new world record in her back pocket. Holt was valiant in second, taking home a well-deserved silver.
Following this, Chad Perris, or the ‘White Tiger’, deservedly booked his spot in the Men’s T13 100m final. With some great runners alongside him, Perris ran strongly from lane two to snatch fifth spot, while Ireland’s Jason Smyth snatched gold in a nail-biting finish by one-hundredth of a second.
Drama in the men’s shot put
In a crazy finish to the Men’s F40 shot put final, two of the best competitors fought it out for gold, and both broke the previous world record.
Portugal’s Miguel Monteiro was once in front, but with Iraq’s Garrah Tnaiash and the Russian Paralympic Committee’s Denis Gnezdilov to come.
Their throws went down into Paralympic history, with Tnaiash first of all claiming a world record with an 11.15 metre throw on his final effort. As he was ready to celebrate a gold, Gnezdilov went one better, throwing 11.16 to break the world record and snatch victory with the final throw of the day. It was an incredible finish, with the pair going down in folklore for such a dramatic ending.
More athletics fun in an action-packed day
Robyn Lambird went into the Women’s 100m T34 final with a shot at a medal, but even she surprised herself when she finished in third to claim bronze in the final. It was the start of a big medal-winning day for the Aussies, with Sarah Edmiston also challenging in the women’s F64 discus throw final.
Edmiston was always a strong shot, but she was another great Aussie athlete for the day, winning a bronze medal in a strong field.
So far but so close for Australia in the pool
Well-renowned as a strong swimming unit, the Dolphins Paralympic unit were well in the contention for medals on day five.
They came home with a fair haul, but couldn’t bring any gold medals back in some tight finishes.
Jake Michel was superb in the Men’s 100m breaststroke SB14 final, setting himself up for a massive shot at gold. But it took something special for him to miss out on top spot, and Japan’s Naohide Yamaguchi delivered this, taking home a world record and Paralympics record to go with gold. Michel was brilliant in grabbing silver, finishing only half a second behind such a historic swim.
Ashley Van Rijswijk and Paige Leonhardt carried the Aussie flag into the Women’s 100m breaststroke SB14 final, with both giving themselves a great shot at the turn for a medal. But a strong field overwhelmed the pair, with Van Rijswijk claiming fifth while Leonhardt finished just behind in sixth.
William Martin gave his all in the Men’s 50m freestyle S9 final, unfortunately narrowly missing out on a medal as he landed in fourth place, while Katja Dedekind also just finished out on reaching the podium, finishing fourth in the Women’s 50m freestyle S13 final.
Another silver came in the Women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay 34 points, with disqualifications to the USA and Great Britain meant Australia’s team went from third to taking home silver medals. Italy took home gold after the readjustment, with Canada claiming bronze due to the controversy.
A tense battle to determine table tennis gold
It was always going to come down to the wire in the gold medal clash between Australia’s Samuel von Einem and Peter Palos in the men’s class 11 table tennis.
Taking the first set, von Einem looked ready to surge ahead, only for Palos to continually pull him back. It went set for set down the match’s timeline, with Palos levelling it at two sets each and forcing a deciding final set.
Von Einem’s forehand remained as a constant menace to Palos’ game, but inconsistency cruelled him when it mattered. Despite coming back to nullify three consecutive match points, Palos confirmed a five-set victory to snatch a remarkable gold, with von Einem landing a silver for his great efforts.
Down to the wire in the triathlon
Australia’s Lauren Parker looked to be heading for a gold medal in the women’s PTWC triathlon, having smashed her first two legs.
But with the finish line nearing, Parker began to falter, as America’s Kendall Gretsch suddenly challenged for first spot.
It came down to the final few metres, with Gretsch coming from behind to snatch gold in the last metre. It left Parker heartbroken as she crossed the finish line in second, having seen the gold taken from before her very eyes.
Steelers go without a medal for the first time since 2004
Finishing as the highest seed in the pool, Australia’s wheelchair rugby team were shocked to lose their semi-final. They were given the opportunity for a rapid rebound with the bronze medal match against the host country today.
But their match against third-seeded Japan didn’t go to plan, with the home side leading from start to finish to claim a 60-52 win and snatch bronze from Australia.
In the gold medal match, it was Great Britain who proved too strong for the US, winning in a tight 54-49 contest to salute and top the podium.
Alcott and Davidson book a spot in the Gold Medal Match
The Dynamic Duo of Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson were back for the first time since the Australian Open earlier this year in the Wheelchair Quad Doubles tonight taking on Japan’s Mitsuteru Moroishi and Koji Sugeno.
Alcott might have teased that Davidson’s service game wasn’t up to snuff but both Aussies were on top of their service game in the first set, with Davidson serving out the set with an ace (6-2).
The second set didn’t go quite as smoothly for the Australians, despite winning the opening three games Moroishi and Sugeno fired back fast winning four consecutive games, after a brief break in the middle of the set the Aussies were back to their form at the start of the set and finished the match off in consecutive games.
Alcott and Davidson are through to the Gold Medal Match later this week and will be playing against Sam Schroder and Niel Vink of the Netherlands.
Ben Weekes was back for his second round match against Belgium’s Jef Vandorpe in the Men’s Singles Wheelchair Tennis, it was a tough match in the heat with Weekes taking the lead early in the first set, breaking Vandorpe’s serve in the opening two games. While Vandorpe got back into the set Weekes never truly relinquished control and took the set 6-3.
It was a very different story in the second set with Vandorpe winning five consecutive games before Weekes managed to win one after forcing deuce but it was too little too late and Vandorpe to the set in the next game.
If the second set was brutal for the Aussie it was even worse in the third with Vandorpe winning six straight games to win the set and advance to the third round. Weekes wasn’t completely overwhelmed winning 25 points to Vandorpe’s 37 but he was unable to convert from him three break point opportunities or take games off of his own serve.
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