Today in a nutshell: the USA won the universal relay on the track, the Dutch were competing for medals all day in the wheelchair tennis, ParalympicsGB passed the 100-medal mark, and Australia’s Ellie Cole appears to have called it a day.

Saturday’s key moments: there are 49 gold medals available on the final Saturday of the Games and it is the last day of archery, boccia, football 5-a-side, paracanoe, taekwondo and wheelchair tennis.

Jessica Long with, frankly, yet another gold medal.
Jessica Long with, frankly, yet another gold medal. Photograph: OIS/Thomas Lovelock/REX/Shutterstock

On the final day in the pool , 29-year-old US star Jessica Long won the women’s 100m butterfly S8 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre for her sixth medal of these Games, and her 29th Paralympic medal of all-time (of which 16 are gold). It is not inconceivable that she will appear again at the Paris Paralympics, which are just three years away.

The final gold medal handed out on the track on Friday was the first running of the 4x100m universal relay, which was won by the USA, with Great Britain second and Japan third after China were disqualified.

The USA universal relay team.
The USA universal relay team. Photograph: OIS/Joe Toth/Shutterstock

Lora Fachie of ParalympicsGB missed out on another medal in the women’s B road cycling race, which was won by Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy with her pilot Eve McCrystal. It was her second gold of the Games, and afterwards Dunlevy said: “I struggled at school, I found school really hard. I was diagnosed at 11 – I would have liked to have been able to say to my younger self then that everything is going to be OK – great things can happen.”

Eve McCrystal, right, and Katie George Dunlevy of Ireland celebrate after winning gold.
Eve McCrystal, right, and Katie George Dunlevy of Ireland celebrate after winning gold. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile/Getty Images

“Just believe in yourself – that is what I would tell someone young with sight issues at home watching this,” Dunlevy added. Britain’s Sophie Unwin won silver, with Louise Jannering of Sweden in the bronze medal position in that race.

Emma Wiggs enjoyed a crushing victory in the Va’a discipline of paracanoe sprint, as teammate Jeanette Chippington picked up GB’s 100th medal in Japan by claiming bronze. 41-year-old Wiggs, who lost the use of her legs while on a gap year aged 18, said “It’s just amazing to make history and to do it on a podium with Jeanette again is more than we could have dreamt of.” She will defend her KL2 title on Saturday.

Emma Wiggs reacts after winning her paracanoe event.
Emma Wiggs reacts after winning her paracanoe event. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Robert Oliver – who contracted coronavirus just six weeks ago – secured a third British Paracanoe medal of the day with bronze in the men’s KL3 class.

Taekwondo has made its Paralympics debut in Tokyo, and there was a British silver medal on Friday for Beth Munro, who was beaten 32-14 by four-time world champion and three-time European champion Lisa Gjessing of Denmark in the K44 -58kg category. Juan Diego García López of Mexico won the K44 -75kg category for the men.

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The briefing’s picture of the day

In today’s shooting, Zhang Cuiping of China won the women’s 50m rifle three-position SH1 event, with Abdulla Sultan Alaryani of the UAE winning the men’s equivalent.

Zhang Cuiping of China reacts after the R8-Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions SH1 final.
Zhang Cuiping of China reacts after the R8-Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions SH1 final. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

You can find the best pictures of today’s action in our day 10 gallery.

🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺 Australia update

After a hotly contested start, Curtis McGrath burst away from the field in the final 100m to retain his 2016 men’s kayak single 200m KL2 title by more than a second. Ukrainian Mykola Syniuk won silver with Italy’s Federico Mancarella, who challenged McGrath early in the race, claiming bronze. Susan Seipel claimed a silver medal in the women’s Va’a single 200m VL2.

“I’m super happy with my performance,” McGrath said. “Going back-to-back is one of those feelings, that I’ve confirmed to myself I can come to the biggest event and perform.”

Curtis McGrath celebrates after he won this morning.
Curtis McGrath celebrates after he won this morning. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Paige Greco won her third medal at her first Paralympics, claiming bronze in the women’s C1-3 road race. That race was won for the hosts by Keiko Sugiura. “I knew it would probably come down to a sprint finish,” Greco said. “I knew one of the girls was behind me, I didn’t know both of them were. It was super close. I’m very happy to be on the podium again. It’s been an amazing Games and I never want to forget it.”

Paige Greco of Australia and Denise Schindler of Germany during the women’s C1/3 road race.
Paige Greco of Australia and Denise Schindler of Germany during the women’s C1/3 road race. Photograph: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com/REX/Shutterstock

Australia’s table tennis team delivered another medal, with Lina Lei, Qian Yang and Melissa Tapper claiming silver in the women’s team classes 9-10 – Australia’s first team table tennis medal since 1964.

It sounds like swimmer Ellie Cole has called it a day. She became the most decorated Australian female Paralympian ever after winning her 17th medal on Thursday night. “It was such a special night last night. It was nine days of gruelling competition for myself and you always forget how tiring a Paralympics is,” Cole has said. “It was such a fairytale ending to my Paralympic journey and you can’t tell under my mask but I haven’t stopped smiling.”

Ellie Cole competes in Tokyo.
Ellie Cole competes in Tokyo. Photograph: Joel Marklund/AP

She did hint that she would carry on to the next Commonwealth Games in 2022 in Birmingham, but seems to have ruled out appearing at the Paris Paralympics.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Team USA update

Pouring rain and 97% humidity didn’t stop Team USA’s Raymond Martin from grabbing a 10th career Paralympic medal and first gold of the Tokyo Games. “Three Games later, seventh gold medal. I’m so excited to get on top of the podium, hear the national anthem and bring a gold medal to Team USA” he said after winning the men’s T52 100m on the track.

Raymond Martin of the US after winning gold in the Tokyo rain.
Raymond Martin of the US after winning gold in the Tokyo rain. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

There were also US medals in athletics for Justin Phongsavanh (bronze, men’s F54 javelin) and Hunter Woodall (bronze, men’s T62 400m).

It was a frustrating morning for the US men’s goalball team as they missed out on a medal, losing 10-7 to Lithuania in the bronze play-off. Brazil then beat China 7-2 in the final. The US women’s goalball team then had to be content with a silver medal after reigning champions Turkey won gold with a 9-2 victory.

Gold medalists Turkey pose during the women’s goalball medal ceremony.
Gold medalists Turkey pose during the women’s goalball medal ceremony. Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Kevin Mather took the archery men’s individual recurve title, having knocked out the much-fancied defending champion Gholamreza Rahimi of Iran in the quarter-finals. He then caused another upset by beating China’s Zhao Lixue in the final.

🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵 The hosts and beyond

There was Dutch representation in four of Friday’s wheelchair tennis matches. Niels Vink opened the Netherlands’ medal account for the day with bronze in the quad singles. Tom Egberink and Maikel Scheffers followed suit in the men’s doubles bronze match. Aniek van Koot then lost the women’s singles bronze match to Britain’s Jordanne Whiley, but business as usual was restored as Diede de Groot won women’s singles gold against Japan’s Yui Kamiji.

A view of the Ariake Tennis Park.
A view of the Ariake Tennis Park. Photograph: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

There was joy for Rwanda’s women in the sitting volleyball. The team had lost all of their group games, but won the 7th-8th play-off against hosts Japan. They are the only African team in the competition, and became the first Sub-Saharan women’s team in the history of the sport to play at the Games when they appeared in Rio.

South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu scored his second gold medal at Tokyo 2020 in the men’s 200m T61 final. Britain’s Richard Whitehead came second. Afterwards Mahlangu said “Coming into this one, it was the most important thing to make sure that I get the gold medal and also to enjoy it. I really enjoyed this race coming out of the bend and be able to push through.”

South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu celebrates winning the men’s 200m T61 final with silver medalist Great Britain’s Richard Whitehead, right.
South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu celebrates winning the men’s 200m T61 final with silver medalist Great Britain’s Richard Whitehead, right. Photograph: Joe Toth/AP

In the pool, Canada’s Danielle Dorris won the women’s 50m butterfly S7 – breaking her own world record which she had just set in the heats. Netherlands’ Chantalle Zijderveld broke Sophie Pascoe’s world record as she won gold in the women’s 200m individual medley. Afterwards she said she’d had a message from Pascoe saying that “records are there to be broken.”

Chantalle Zijderveld reacts after setting a new world’s best time.
Chantalle Zijderveld reacts after setting a new world’s best time. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 ParalympicsGB update

There were gold medals in track and field for Jonathan Broom-Edward in the T44 high jump and Owen Miller in the the T20 1500m. Elsewhere, Rio gold medallist Hollie Arnold took bronze in the women’s F46 javelin final.

Owen Miller GBR celebrates his gold in the men’s 1500m T20 final.
Owen Miller celebrates his gold in the men’s 1500m T20 final. Photograph: OIS/Joe Toth/REX/Shutterstock

Great Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid had to settle for a second successive silver in the men’s wheelchair tennis doubles after an epic three-set battle. The gold medal was decided by a third-set tiebreak with France’s Rio 2016 winners, Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer, retaining their title. Reid and Hewett face each other tomorrow for a bronze medal in the men’s singles.

The doubles pairs congratulate each other at the end of the final.
The doubles pairs congratulate each other at the end of the final. Photograph: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

China have been dominant in the table tennis throughout the Tokyo Paralympics, and Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak could do nothing to stop Yan Shuo and Liao Keli winning their class six-seven team final in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. The British pair lost 2-0. “We had a chance in the doubles at 10-8 in the second, but that is why they are the champions and we’re not,” Bayley said. “You have to take those chances especially against China.”

The British men’s wheelchair basketball team took an early lead in their semi-final against hosts Japan, but eventually succumbed to a 79-68 defeat. They will now contest a bronze medal play-off on Sunday and try to emulate their 2016 medal against Rio silver-medallists Spain. Japan will take on reigning champions USA on Sunday in one of the last sporting moments of the Games.

Hiroaki Kozai and Tetsuya Miyajima of Japan celebrate after winning their semi-final.
Hiroaki Kozai and Tetsuya Miyajima of Japan celebrate after winning their semi-final. Photograph: Iván Alvarado/Reuters

Key events for Saturday 4 August

All events are listed here in local Tokyo time. Add an hour for Sydney, subtract eight hours for Exeter, 13 hours for New York and 16 hours for San Francisco.

🌟If you only watch one thing: 9.30am Paracanoe – after a morning of semi-finals, by 10.48am it is time for the finals. The women go in the kayak single 200m in three classes where Emma Wiggs is attempting to defend her Rio title, and the men have two finals in the va’a single 🥇

  • 9am Badminton – settle in for another long day at the Yoyogi National Stadium as eventually we get to seven bronze play-offs and seven finals. There’s no precise timings for the later matches and the schedule indicates that the session could go as long as to 9pm 🥇

  • 9.30am and 7pm Athletics – it is nearly all finals today with 24 golds available making it the busiest day on the podium of the athletics programme.

  • 10am and 5pm Taekwondo – there are two finals at the end of these sessions – the men’s K44 +75kg and the women’s K44 +58kg bouts for the gold medal should start around 9pm 🥇

  • 11.30am and 5.30pm Football 5-a-sideChina v Morocco for the bronze medal first, and then in the early evening it is the final between Argentina and Brazil. Brazil haven’t let in a single goal all Paralympics yet 🥇

  • 12.15pm Shooting – after an earlier qualification round there are two finals today. First on at 12.15pm is the mixed 50m pistol SH1 final. At 2.45pm it is the mixed 50m rifle prone SH2 🥇

  • 2pm and 4.30pm and 7pm Sitting volleyball – the men play-off for bronze as Brazil face Bosnia-Herzegovina, then the women’s bronze is available as Brazil play Canada. The evening match is the men’s final: the Russian Paralympic Committee v Iran. The women’s final is on Sunday 🥇

  • 5.20pm Boccia – there’s an earlier session from 9.30am with semi-finals and bronze medal play-offs, but the main attraction is a short sharp evening session of finals in the BC4 pairs, BC3 pairs, and the BC1/BC2 team 🥇

  • 5.30pm Archery – the mixed team recurve contest reaches the quarter-final stage, and by 8pm we’ll know the winner of the final archery medal of Tokyo 2020 🥇

  • 8.30pm Wheelchair basketball – the women’s bronze medal match between Germany and the US is earlier at 5.45pm, and the evening session has the Netherlands v China setting out to win gold 🥇

  • 10am Wheelchair tennis – as ever much to my frustration there are no precise times, so it is difficult to direct you to the best action, but the day on centre court at the Ariake Tennis Park starts with Australia’s Dylan Alcott in the quad singles, then the women’s doubles bronze match, followed by the women’s doubles gold where the Dutch pair of Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot take on British pair Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley. After that it is the ParalympicsGB bronze showdown between doubles partners Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett. *draws deep breath* Then the day concludes with the men’s singles gold match. Phew 🥇

As it stands

Here’s how the emoji table stood at 11pm Tokyo time:

1 🇨🇳 China 🥇 85 🥈 53 🥉 46 total: 184
2 🇬🇧 Great Britain 🥇 37 🥈 34 🥉 39 total: 110
3 🇺🇸 USA 🥇 34 🥈 34 🥉 24 total: 92
4 ◻️ Not Russia 🥇 34 🥈 29 🥉 44 total: 107
5 🇺🇦 Ukraine 🥇 24 🥈 44 🥉 26 total: 94
6 🇳🇱 Netherlands 🥇 22 🥈 15 🥉 15 total: 52
7 🇧🇷 Brazil 🥇 21 🥈 14 🥉 26 total: 61
8 🇦🇺 Australia 🥇 18 🥈 27 🥉 27 total: 72
9 🇮🇹 Italy 🥇 13 🥈 27 🥉 25 total: 65
10 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan 🥇 12 🥈 1 🥉 4 total: 17

Useful links

Interactive medal table | Full results service | Paralympic Games classification guide

Get in touch

At the Guardian we’ve mostly been working remotely for some time, but three times a week we have a global Zoom call on a different topic in the news, where the journalists involved in covering it talk about it in depth. This morning Paul MacInnes in Tokyo and myself in London were among those discussing the Paralympics. Two things really came out of it – we talked about the sheer scale of the Games, and the tension there is between an inclusive event and a frenetic sporting spectacle. The two are sometimes at odds – as Boccia champion David Smith has pointed out, the more Paralympic sport edges towards faster times and more strength, the more it limits the opportunities of those with the most severe disabilities from taking part.

As we talked about this – and the idea that for some people just being able to compete is a triumph in itself – the discussion called to my mind an email I’d received a couple of days ago from Jill Lovell. She’d messaged me to say “I feel it’s good to know about the athletes who didn’t make it to the teams. Many dreamed dreams but couldn’t make it for whatever reason. Their first dreams adapted to accommodate changing circumstances. Some athletes make tremendous comebacks from adversity. Not all are able to. I think their stories could be shared and they feel encouraged too.”

It really made me think about how difficult it must have been to watch events unfolding in Tokyo if you were one of those athletes who didn’t get there because of just missing out or because of injury. With the final weekend of the Games approaching my mind is also turning to putting together my highlights of the last fortnight. I’d love to be able to include the things that have meant the most to you. You can get in touch with me at martin.belam@theguardian.com

The last word

Jonathan Broom-Edwards competes in the men’s high jump T64.
Jonathan Broom-Edwards competes in the men’s high jump T64. Photograph: OIS/Joel Marklund/REX/Shutterstock

I am so emotional. To just get it right at the right time, I am so relieved, elated, excited and crying my eyes out. I’ve been striving for that gold for years. They were horrible conditions so I tried to keep my cool and get it right when it counted. And I am so proud of myself – Jonathan Broom-Edwards, gold medallist in the T64 high jump

Contributor

Martin Belam

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