05/03/2024
Will Martin

Will Martin has claimed Gold and a Paralympic Record in the Men's 400m Freestyle S9. Image: Paralympic Games - Twitter

Will Martin has won Australia's first Paralympic medal in the pool, taking Gold in the Men's 400m Freestyle S9.

Will Martin has taken Gold in the Men’s 400m Freestyle S9, finishing in a Paralympic Record time of 4:10.25.

At his debut Paralympic Games, the Queenslander got off to the fastest start, with a reaction time of 0.64 seconds, and never looked back. He led for the duration of the race; coming home with a 30.90 final 50m split, as he charged ahead of Frenchman Ugo Didier.

The 20-year-old, who found swimming helped with his movement after a stroke resulted in a vision impairment and a shake in his hand in 2007, remained calm on the biggest stage to win Gold at his second large-scale event.

Martin had previously swum at the 2019 World Champions in London, where he placed fifth in the 100m butterfly and ninth in both the 50m Freestyle and 100m Freestyle. Ahead of Tokyo, Martin started working on the distance event and it has paid off.

Earlier on Wednesday in qualifying, he finished second in the first heat with a time of 4:17.95. While he qualified for a middle lane, Martin was eager to improve this time in the final.

He did that and more, as his final time was seven seconds faster than qualifying and took the Paralympic Record from fellow Australian Brenden Hall, set in London 2012.

Ugo Didier finished 1.08 seconds behind Martin, with a time of 4:11.33.

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The 20-year-old was one of three Australians in the pool for the S9 final, with Alex Tuckfield and Brenden Hall also lining up on the blocks.

Alex Tuckfield moved into third place after the first 50m and remained there to hit the wall for Bronze, ahead of Hall.

Slowest off the blocks, Hall moved through the field to take the first turn in fifth and moved into fourth halfway through the race. He came home strong, challenging his fellow Dolphin for Bronze, but was just beaten to the wall by Tuckfield.

After the race, Martin was “feeling stuffed” as he revealed he had to give up his job as a swimming coach to fulfil all of his swimming duties. However, the children he used to coach would be “ecstatic” and no doubt inspired by his gold medal finish.

Martin is also competing in the Men’s 50m Freestyle S9. He will swim in the fourth heat on Sunday morning at 10:38 am.

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