Wheelchair runner Tomoki Sato presented Japan’s second gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Friday, adding to a silver and bronze medal for his country at the same track at the national stadium earlier in the day.
Sato carried out a heroic charge down the home stretch to win the first gold of his Paralympic career, adding it to the two silver medals he won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
A total of 45 Paralympic gold medals were up for grabs on Friday, with a range of sports to start, including archery, track and field and judo, all played out at the iconic Budokan venue in Tokyo.
“The start and the first half of the race went at a faster pace than I expected. It was a close battle and it made it a bit difficult to establish a rhythm, ”said Sato.
The gold medal is Japan’s first in track and field at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and saw the host nation place 13th on the medal table at the end of competition on Friday.
Hirokazu Ueyonabaru followed Sato home to win bronze, the 50-year-old’s second Paralympic medal and the first since 2008.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos capped off a successful day for his country in the relative coolness of the Tokyo night by blazing at home in 10.53 for a new Paralympic record and gold in the men’s T45 100 meters.
“Emotions are hard to describe,” said the 24-year-old, whose arm was amputated below the elbow after a childhood accident.
His victory came despite a thigh injury a week before the Games.
“It was pretty scary, but I tried to focus on my rehabilitation,” he said, describing his wife’s support.
“Maybe she was more nervous than me,” he added.
“I told him, ‘Keep calm, I’m sure I’ll recover in time and get this medal’.”
His victory came after the Brazilians won the first athletics medals at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, with Yeltsin Jacques kicking off the kickoff by knocking out Kenya Karasawa of Japan to step onto the podium in the men’s 5000 final. T11 meters. Japan’s Shinya Wada won bronze.
Jacques, who is visually impaired and runs with a guide, said his victory was the culmination of five years of training.
“I have speed, I have energy. I’m naturally fast, it’s genetic, ”added Jacques, who will also compete in the 1,500 meters and the marathon in the T11 category.
Karasawa was disappointed with his performance on the track.
“I’m disappointed with the silver because I had my eye on the gold but I ran my race as planned,” said Karasawa. “One important thing I can take away from the race is that I was able to fight for the lead on the last lap and put in a performance that I can use (as an experience) in the future.”
Meanwhile, her Brazilian compatriot Silvania Costa de Oliveira won the first field events gold, successfully defending the title she won in Rio in the women’s T11 long jump.
But it’s not just the Brazilians who stepped onto the podium on Friday at the Olympic stadium where athletics takes place, as Tunisian Raoua Tlili won gold in the shot put for a fourth consecutive edition of the Games, beating his previous world record in the F41 final with a throw of 10.55 meters. .
The 31-year-old will try to repeat the gold double she achieved at the Rio 2016 Games when she takes part in the discus throw next Wednesday.
“When I find obstacles in my life it is not a problem for me because I am very good at overcoming them,” she said. “I have overcome my handicap, so why can’t I overcome the obstacles in my life? “
In judo, Yujiro Seto won the 66-kilogram bronze medal fight via the draft, then defeated Georgian Giorgi Gamjashvili for the medal.
The 21-year-old B3 class visually impaired athlete from Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture, won by ippon.
The Japanese wheelchair rugby team won over the huge scalp of reigning two-time Paralympic champions Australia, securing a 57-53 victory that maintained their three-game winning streak and saved them a place in the semi-finals.
The three-pronged attack on the home country of 24 tries from Daisuke Ikezaki, 14 from Shinichi Shimakawa and 12 from Yukinobu Ike proved too much for Australia to handle.
The Southern Hemisphere team got 30 tries from the juggernaut Ryley Batt and 16 from Chris Bond, but few more from their supporting cast.
Japan will face Great Britain in the semifinals after the Europeans lost to the United States later in the day. Australia will need to beat the Americans to reach a fourth straight game for the gold medal.
Yuto Sano’s 37-point outing helped Japan’s men’s goalball team secure their second victory in as many games, this time with an 11-1 loss to the United States while the women now have a record breaking record. ‘a draw and a loss after their match against Brazil ended 4-4.
Japan remain at the top of its group in women’s wheelchair basketball, but Canada faced significant reality check in the form of a 61-35 loss, the host nation’s first loss of those games.
The team turned icy from the ground in the loss, shooting 16 for 62 with only Ikumi Fujii hitting double digits with 10 points.
The men’s wheelchair basketball team did what the women couldn’t, keeping their record spotless with a 59-52 victory over South Korea.
Reo Fujimoto stood out, scoring 21 points on 71% shots while Kei Akita scored 17 points.
Takashi Sanada claimed Japan’s first wheelchair tennis victory, taking a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Carlos Anker of the Netherlands.
The 36-year-old, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, is the ninth seed in the Tokyo men’s singles tournament and is looking to improve on the round of 16 he made at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games .
The Sanada-Anker match was one of the few that went as planned at Ariake Tennis Park, as soaring temperatures resulted in delays on all outdoor courts.
Japan’s sitting volleyball teams were both defeated 3-0, with the men ending up ahead of the Russian Paralympic Committee and the women in Italy.
In the pool, meanwhile, swimmer Abbas Karimi failed to become the first member of the Paralympic refugee team to win a medal after qualifying in the men’s 50-meter S5 butterfly on Friday morning.
The 24-year-old Afghan boy, born without arms, said his goal was firmly on gold.
He fell short of his expectations, finishing last in the final, but refugee team leader Ileana Rodriguez said he had sent a “huge message of hope”.
“We represent 82 million displaced people in the world and we have 12 million people with disabilities who are refugees,” she said. “It’s a huge message that someone can take it this far.”
The archery competition also started on Friday, with the spotlight on Iranian star Zahra Nemati, who won gold medals in Rio and London, and American Matt Stutzman, who shoots with his feet.
Stutzman, 38, sported a new, slimmer look as he aims to make up for the medal shortage five years ago.
“I could probably shoot 300 more arrows, like I’m not tired at all I’m good to go,” he said after breaking the old Paralympic Games record, but only finishing 12th in a high level competition to decide the seeds for the knockout rounds. “I feel like Superman… but not quite.”
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Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Tomoki Sato