Today in a nutshell: the final day of at the Izu Velodrome was dominated by British gold medals, Ukraine scored five golds in the pool, the wheelchair rugby finalists were decided, and in table tennis Will Bayley lost his cool and kicked the hoardings over in a bizarre celebration.
Tomorrow’s key moments: it is the busiest single day for the Paralympics with 17 sports in action and 62 gold medals available to be won, it is the US v GB in the wheelchair rugby final and we’ll get the first action from the shooting range.
ParalympicsGB finished the final day of track cycling in the Izu Velodrome at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with a flurry of medals, taking a clean sweep of all three golds available, and also securing a silver and a bronze.
Neil Fachie took gold in the men’s B 1000m time trial ahead of teammate James Ball. In the process Fachie and pilot Matthew Rotherham broke their own world record, clocking a time of 58.083 seconds. Less than an hour later Fachie’s wife, Lora Fachie, then took gold in the women’s B 3000m individual pursuit. Having taken an early lead she eventually beat Ireland’s Katie-George Dunleavy by two seconds with another world record. Dunleavy’s silver was Ireland’s second medal of the Paralympics.
It was a third Paralympic title for Liverpool-born 32-year-old Lora, who won two golds in Rio in 2016. She said “I’ve never successfully defended a title before so I’m just delighted and it’s been an incredible day. For me, it’s been a childhood dream to be a world record-holder and I now am, thanks to my pilot Corrine Hall.”
The final event in the velodrome was the mixed C1-5 750m team sprint final, where athletes could be mixed by both ability and gender. The British trio of Kadeena Cox, Jaco Van Gass and Jody Cundy saw off their Chinese opposition. Cundy said “I was tucking in to save as much energy as possible, and then it was like it’s time to go now. Everything I’ve got, everything that’s left, I just put it into the pedals. Thankfully it was enough – by 0.1 or something. It was ridiculously close. A phenomenal race, both of us well inside the world record. It was like the perfect race to end the perfect competition.”
There was mixed relay gold in the pool too for the British team – Reece Dunn, Bethany Firth, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Jordan Catchpole winning the first ever Paralympic S14 mixed 4x100m freestyle race and setting a world record at the same time. For Australia, Rowan Crothers and Ahmed Kelly finished second in their respective races while Grant Patterson and Matt Levy came third to add four more medals, before the team gained a silver in second place in the relay behind the British quartet. Ukraine bossed the day in the pool, with five golds, while China took a clean sweep of the podium in the women’s 100m backstroke S11 final.
There was frustration for Rogier Dorsman of the Netherlands though. A slightly mistimed tap meant the visually impaired athlete failed to make a turn during the 100m backstroke – he had looked set to add to the gold he won in the 400m race, but ended up fourth.
In the Japan National Stadium there was a double 100m gold for ParalympicsGB, with Sophie Hann winning her T38 final, and Thomas Young finishing fastest in the men’s equivalent. Hann had set a new world record in qualifying. Young had never broken 11 seconds, but did so in the final, and afterwards said: “Honestly, I’m not really sure what to think. As I crossed the line I saw the time and totally forgot about the medal to be honest.” Nottingham-based Hann now has three Paralympic medals to her name.
There was also double gold in the evening session for South Africa, with Ntando Mahlangu winning in the T63 long jump and Anrune Weyers in the T47 400m. And New Zealand’s Lisa Adams became the first woman F37 to break the 15m barrier in the shot put, with the world champion adding her first Paralympic gold to her achievements.
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The briefing’s picture of the day
Dutch athlete Fleur Jong won the T64 long jump in some style, setting a new world record of 6.16m. Teammate Marlene van Gansewinkel took the bronze, behind two-time Paralympic champion Marie-Amelie le Fur from France.
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Team USA update
There was double gold glory for the US in the triathlons. Allysa Seely took gold in the women’s PTS2 event, with Hailey Danz in the silver medal position. And then in the third race of the day, Brad Snyder and his guide Greg Billington took gold in the PTV1 class for visually impaired athletes.
US Navy veteran Snyder lost his eyesight while serving in Afghanistan and had previously won five golds in swimming in a Paralympic career that started in London in 2012. He switched to triathlon in 2018 and after today’s race said: “It’s a big moment, obviously, because you spend so much time visualising and hoping and preparing for it. There’s no way you can possibly imagine how good it’s going to feel – and it was really a good feeling.”
Susannah Scaroni is at her third Paralympics and has her first gold, after victory in the women’s 5000m T54. After a race that she had dominated, she said: “I feel so blessed. My strength is going as hard as I can for a long time. That never happens at the Paralympics and I have no experience doing anything else. I looked back and nobody was there. With seven laps to go it was a huge risk but I knew my strength and I took that risk.” Tatyana McFadden of the US took bronze behind Scaroni.
Back at home in the US, Sunday will mark the first time that Paralympics coverage will air on the main NBC network.
🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 ParalympicsGB update
It wasn’t quite a Temur Ketsbaia moment but Rio gold medallist Will Bayley kicked an advertising board with joy after progressing to the gold medal match of the class seven table tennis with a nail-biting win in Tokyo over China’s Liao Keli, earning a yellow card in the process. The 33-year-old who suffered a knee injury competing in Strictly Come Dancing in 2019 will face another Chinese player, Yan Shuo, in Sunday’s final.
Bayley was the only one of four Britons to win in their table tennis semi-finals, meaning that Jack Hunter Spivey, Thomas Matthews and Paul Karabardak will have to content themselves with bronzes.
There were cruel fortunes for Britain’s triathletes in the early morning start. Dave Ellis, Britain’s golden hope in the men’s PTVI event, suffered a mechanical failure with his bike, and despite a rousing chase to the finish, Alison Peasgood finished two seconds behind French athlete Annouck Curzillat who won the bronze in the women’s equivalent. That was won by Spain’s Susana Rodriguez, who became the first Spaniard to win a gold in Paralympic triathlon. She said: “In the world of sports, this means everything.” Curzillat’s French compatriot Alexis Hanquinquant took gold in the men’s PTS4 triathlon.
There can’t be many people who have had to compete against their brother at the Paralympics but that is what Ayrshire’s Jamie and Scott McCowan did in the boccia. The elder brother, Scott, triumphed in their BC3 Pool E match 7-1.
The mixed wheelchair rugby team are guaranteed at least a silver medal after defeating world champions Japan in the semi-final 55–49. They will face the US in the final on Sunday after they defeated Australia 49-42 in the other semi-final. No European team has reached the final before in an event added to the Paralympics programme at Atlanta in 1996. It will be Britain’s first medal in the sport – they’ve previously lost the bronze medal match three times.
🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺 Australia update
Jaryd Clifford, who competes with a visual impairment, broke down in his post-race interview today after finishing in second place in the men’s 5000m T13. His grandad had tickets to see him run in Tokyo in 2020, but died before the rescheduled Games could be held. Clifford said “It wasn’t good enough for what I wanted today. But I gave it everything. I’m pretty cooked, pretty emotional and that’s a testament to where Paralympic sport is. No medal is a guarantee ever. And I knew that.”
🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵 The hosts and beyond
China won the team archery competition in the W1 class against the Czech Republic with a 138-132 victory. The athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee earned bronze.
China also continued their domination of the wheelchair fencing, winning three of the four medals available today. In a replay of the 2016 final, only Italy’s Beatrice Maria Vio denied them a fourth by beating Zhou Jingjing in the women’s foil individual category B. Britain’s Dimitri Coutya won bronze in the men’s individual foil category B.
Azerbaijan won another three gold medals in the judo today, following up their double golds yesterday.
Hideki Uda added another silver medal to Japan’s collection in the men’s PTS4 triathlon.
Did you know?
The Paralympic movement describes the word “Paralympic” as deriving from the Greek preposition “para” (beside or alongside) and the word “Olympic”. They say its meaning is that Paralympics are the parallel Games to the Olympics, and illustrates how the two movements exist side-by-side.
Key events for Sunday 29 August
All events are listed here in local Tokyo time. Add an hour for Sydney, subtract eight hours for Leeds, 13 hours for New York and 16 hours for San Francisco.
🌟If you only watch one thing: 9.30am-11.50am Rowing – the first medals at the Sea Forest Waterway will come on Sunday. There are finals in the men’s and women’s PR1 single sculls, the PR2 mixed double sculls and the PR3 mixed coxed four 🥇
6.30am and 8.30am Triathlon – it is another early Tokyo start for the paratriathletes. There are four races today, as the men and women compete separately in the PTWC and PTS5 categories – a reminder that means they are on at bedtime tonight in the UK. 🥇
8.30am-7.30pm Wheelchair fencing – Sunday sees the men’s and women’s team foil competitions. The medal bouts start at 5.30pm 🥇
9am-7.30pm Football 5-a-side – the first day of this event sees four men’s preliminary group games, opening with the hosts against France.
9am-10.44am and 5pm-7.32pm Swimming – the swimming never stops, there are 13 golds on offer in the pool on Sunday 🥇
9.30am-1.02pm and 7pm-10.02pm Athletics – another busy day on Sunday, with the evening session in particular featuring nine finals on the track 🥇
10am-2pm and 4pm-8pm Table tennis – there are eight singles finals across the day, including William Bayley at 11.45am 🥇
11am Wheelchair tennis – the schedule is back on track and there will be another full day of play at Ariake Tennis Park – we’ll get quarter-finals in the women’s doubles and the semi-final of the quads’ doubles.
2pm and 6pm Wheelchair rugby – first the bronze medal match between Australia and Japan and then the gold medal final between the US and Great Britain 🥇
4.30pm-7.50pm Judo – there are five gold medals on offer in the evening session 🥇
6pm Equestrian – it is test to music in the dressage, with the gold medal contest for Grade IV starting at 7.32pm 🥇
7.36pm-7.56pm Archery – the competition runs all day, but in the evening at Yumenoshima Final Field it will be time for the mixed team compound archery bronze contest, followed by the gold medal match 🥇
As it stands
Here’s how the emoji table stood at 10pm Tokyo time. China have already amassed more gold medals than second place ParalympicsGB and third-placed Not Russia combined.
1 🇨🇳 China 🥇 29 🥈 21 🥉 21 total: 71
2 🇬🇧 Great Britain 🥇 16 🥈 12 🥉 13 total: 41
3 ◻️ Not Russia 🥇 12🥈 7 🥉 19 total: 38
4 🇺🇸 USA 🥇11 🥈 7 🥉 4 total: 22
5 🇺🇦 Ukraine 🥇 8 🥈 17 🥉 8 total: 33
6 🇦🇺 Australia 🥇 7 🥈 9 🥉 11 total: 27
7 🇧🇷 Brazil 🥇 6 🥈 5 🥉 11 total: 22
8 🇳🇱 Netherlands 🥇 6 🥈 5 🥉 5 total: 16
9 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan 🥇 6 🥈 0 🥉 2 total: 8
10 🇮🇹 Italy 🥇 5 🥈 7 🥉 6 total: 18
Get in touch
There’s a long-running joke on the internet based on a phrase from one of the episodes of Chris Morris TV series Brass Eye: “This is the one thing we didn’t want to happen”. I always think of it when it comes to anthem and flag mix-ups. They never seem to be something easy to shrug off, like accidentally playing Canada’s anthem instead of New Zealand’s. They always seem to have massive political ramifications.
I remember in London 2012 they showed the faces of the North Korean women’s football team next to the South Korean flag, causing an upset that held up the game. At Euro 2008, organisers displayed the lyrics for the Nazi-era version of the German national anthem, and at an Arab Shooting Championships ceremony in 2012, they played the fake version of the Kazakhstan national anthem from the Borat movies. You can imagine how well that was received.
The anthem mix-up at this years Paralympics isn’t quite on that scale, but as part of the punishment for the huge state-endorsed doping programme, Russian athletes on the podium get to hear Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. Unless you are Mikhail Astashov in the velodrome, in which case someone is going to press the wrong button and play the International Paralympic Committee’s anthem instead. Organisers have apologised and re-staged the medal ceremony with the correct music – which still isn’t the Russian national anthem – but honestly, messing up a medal ceremony with the politically charged Russian Paralympic Committee team involved? “This is the one thing we didn’t want to happen.”
You can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be back tomorrow.
The last word
It’s unity in diversity isn’t it? What we’ve done today, we’re so different but it’s that unity in diversity. It doesn’t matter what your background is, where you come from, whether you’ve gained a disability or were born with a disability, we’re just amazing athletes. That’s it. As much as we have disabilities, we’re just athletes, and we’re great at what we do. – Kadeena Cox