Azerbaijan’s historic Tokyo 2020 campaign continued on Saturday morning (4 September) with two gold medals at the National Olympic Stadium in the penultimate day of Para athletics.
Lamiya Valiyeva triumphed in the women’s 400m T13 followed by Orkhan Aslanov in the men’s long jump T13 followed by. They took the country’s Para athletics medal tally in Tokyo to four - more than Azerbaijan had ever won in the sport in Paralympic history (three golds, one in Athens 2004 and the others in Beijing 2008 and London 2012).
"I heard that Lamiya won. That made me really want to win as well. After that, I jumped 7.36m," said Aslanov, who made his Paralympic debut in Japan.
"I cannot believe that it is gold. I could never believe that I could jump 7.36[metres]. I heard 7.36, but I could not believe it,” he added.
Ivan Cano Blanco took silver for Spain and Isaac Jean-Paul bronze for USA in the long jump T13.
Valiyeva’s gold was the first for Azerbaijan in a track event in Games history and with a new Paralympic record (55.00). Again, Spain was silver and USA bronze. This time with Adiaratou Iglesias and Kym Crosby, respectively.
Jordan's first, Hannah's seventh
The morning session also saw Jordan’s first ever Para athletics gold in the Paralympics. Ahmad Hindi won the men’s shot put F34 setting a new world record (12.15m).
Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft cruised to a seventh straight gold medal on Saturday to maintain her perfect Paralympic Games record.
'Hurricane Hannah' blew away from her rivals from the start of the women’s 800m T34 to win by almost 11 seconds and add to her 100m gold at Tokyo 2020.
"I don't think it will ever sink in,” Cockroft, whose unblemished run stretches back to London 2012, said. “I just need to take a bit of time after Tokyo to reflect.”
It was a repeat British one-two from the 100m as Kare Adenegan took silver. Alex Halko was bronze for USA.
The men’s 800m T34 winner also added to his 100m victory. Tunisia’s took his fifth Paralympic gold in three different Games in a very close finish.
He beat UAE’s Mohamed Alhammadi by 0.09 with only 0.18 separating the Tunisian from bronze medallist Yang Wang of China.
Aiming for Bolt
Nick Mayhugh scorched to a world record of 21.91s in the men’s 200m T37 to continue his quest to “become the Usain Bolt” of Para athletics.
The new golden boy of the track has won three golds and a silver on his Games debut having made the switch from 7-a-side football.
“I’m very grateful and very excited I made this transition. I think I made the right decision,” Mayhugh said.
"I know I’ll never be able to run 9.5, but I want to be the Usain Bolt of the Paralympics. “He is the GOAT of all GOATs, the greatest of all-time. It was always the idea that I want to run as fast as him."
There was also a world record for RPC’s Dmitrii Safronovo to take the men’s 200m T35 in 23.00.
Nigeria took its first gold in Para athletics at Tokyo 2020 with Flora Ugwunwa in the women’s javelin F54 (19.39m).
Renata Sliwinska turned her sixth place in Rio into gold in Tokyo putting Poland on top of the podium in the women’s shot put F40 (8.75m).
China also clinched a gold on Saturday morning to reach 23 in the Para athletics medal count with just one more day of competition. Peicheng Deng won the men’s 100m T36 final setting a Paralympic record (11.85).
Evening session at the National Olympic Stadium will host 13 medal events. Para athletics concludes on Sunday with the marathons.
Complete results and medallists from Tokyo 2020 can be found here.