Australian para-swimmer Will Martin is having a Paralympics to remember in Tokyo, winning his third gold medal of the Games with a World Record race in the Men’s 100m Butterfly S9.
In his debut Paralympic Games, Martin was already a two-time Tokyo 2020 gold medallist heading into this event with first-place podium finishes in the Men’s 400m Freestyle S9, and being a part of Australia’s Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay – 34 points.
As well as his record third gold medal win from Tokyo 2020, the Queenslander set a new World and Paralympic Record in the 100m Butterfly C9 Final, beating his own records he set earlier in the morning during the heats.
Swimming in the third Heat, Martin got off the blocks the quickest and finished first in a time of 58.14 seconds, blitzing the field and finishing the race 3.44 seconds in front of second-place, fellow Australian Timothy Hodge.
The time in the heat itself beat his own World Record set on the Gold Coast at the Australian Multi-Class Swimming Championships in April 2021 and Greece’s Dimosthenis Michalentzakis’ Rio 2016 Paralympic Record.
Heading into the Final, situated in lane four, Martin had plenty of expectations placed upon him but didn’t let that affect him. Similar to the heat, he reacted the quickest off the blocks, and by the end of the race, had bettered his World and Paralympic Record time that he achieved earlier in the day.
Finishing the Final in a time of 57.19 seconds, Martin lead from the front and didn’t look back, having the edge over the other competitors from the outset.
While it was a tight battle throughout the first 50m, Martin lead by 0.25 seconds at the turn but from there he picked up the pace, determined to gain a greater ascendency on the race.
During the final 25m, Martin was positioned in first place, ahead of Italy’s Simone Barlaam by half a body but the Australian showed no sign of slowing down.
In the final 15m he began pulling ahead of his opponents – and the World Record line – by a full body length and by the time he was within touching distance of the wall, it was clear he had clinched a momentous victory.
Martin finished 2.44 seconds in front of Italy’s Barlaam who claimed silver while Alexander Skaliukh of the RPC won bronze.
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Since making his Australian debut at the World Championships in London in 2019, Martin had never won a gold medal on the world stage. He finished ninth in the 50m Freestyle S10 and 100m Freestyle S10 and fifth in the 100m Butterfly S10 in London, though this performance by the 20-year-old will have him as one to watch from this point forward.
The learn-to-swim teacher’s Tokyo 2020 campaign is now over, going home having won gold in three out of four events at Tokyo 2020. He narrowly missed out on a medal in the 50m Freestyle S8 event where he finished fourth, 0.63 seconds away from gold medallist Barlaam.
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