The penultimate day of competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games features the ending events of several sports. Canoe, taekwondo, boccia and archery are among the ones giving their final medals this Saturday, 4 September.
In the National Olympic Stadium, there will be 23 medal events in athletics, with performances of stars such as Great Britain's Hannah Cockroft and Cuba's Omara Durand, the "Queen of Sprint".
The Games might be near the end, but there are still plenty of good matches to watch, such as the football 5-a-side final between Brazil and Argentina. The Brazilian squad is a four-time Paralympic champion and has never been defeated since the introduction of the sport in the programme, in the Athens 2004 Games. Coincidentally, the South American countries have disputed that final in Greece, the first of a traditional rivalry that spreads out through many sports.
See below what to expect today at the Games.
Timing: 10:00 - 11:40 JST and 17:30 - 19:35 JST
Archery competitions at Tokyo 2020 will end with the Mixed Team Recurve section. China and Iran are the top contenders with Zahra Nemati, the gold medallist in the Women’s Individual Recurve Open, carrying the Iranian hopes. Nemati was also the gold medallist at the 2016 Paralympics, the 2017 World Championship gold medallist, and the winner at the Asia Para Games. She has dominated the recurve open and W2 category for over a decade and therefore holds the key to the final.
Timing: 9:30 - 12:55 JST and 19:00 - 22:00
There will be plenty of action to enjoy on the penultimate day of Para-athletics competitions at the National Olympic Stadium -- 23 finals will be conducted in all.
The women’s javelin throw F54 will be the first event of the day and will have Flora Ugwunwa from Nigeria, the world record holder, and the defending Paralympic champion, as the favourite. She won a silver medal at the Dubai 2019 World Championships.
Rio 2016 was the last time China’s Liwan Yang finished behind Ugwunwa. She is the back-to-back world champion from London 2017 and Dubai 2019. Yang is also the London 2012 Paralympic champion and took silver in Rio de Janeiro.
The event will also have another Paralympic champion. Ntombizanele Situ from South Africa won the gold medal at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. She is a two-time world champion and a three-time bronze medallist.
The men's shot put F34 will have plenty of medal contenders. Ahmad Hindi from Jordan, reigning world champion and world record holder, has the best result of the year so far from the Dubai World Para Athletics Grand Prix in February.
Morocco’s Azeddine Nouiri is the back-to-back Paralympic champion but has an only seventh place in the 2021 rankings.
Colombia’s Mauricio Valencia set the second-best result of the year also at the Dubai GP and is likely to pose the biggest threat for Hindi in Tokyo. Valencia has three bronze medals in major Para-athletics events, at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, London 2017, and Dubai 2019 Worlds. Abdulrahman Abdulqadir Fiqi, the first athlete representing Qatar to win a medal in any sport at the Paralympic Games, is another podium candidate as the Rio 2016 silver medallist and London 2017 world champion.
Women’s shot put F40 could be one of the most exciting finals on Saturday. Poland’s Renata Sliwinska is the world record holder and a two-time European champion. She is the leading shot putter in 2021 with the result set at the Bydgoszcz 2021 European Championships. She finished second at the last two World Championships (London 2017 and Dubai 2019).
Raja Jebali from Tunisia is in second place in the rankings this year. She is the reigning world champion from Dubai 2019 and a bronze medallist from London 2017 Worlds. Her compatriot Rima Abdelli is sitting in fourth place in this year’s rankings. She won the London 2017 Worlds and took a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
The women’s 800m T34 will witness a three-way battle for gold between Hannah Cockroft, Kare Adenegan, and Alexa Halko.
Great Britain’s Cockroft has been the star of the event for the last seven years. She is the defending Paralympic champion, world record holder, three-time world champion, and two-time European champion. Cockroft won her first major title at the Swansea 2014 European Championships.
British Cockroft is the defending women's 800m T34 Paralympic champion and world record holder
Her compatriot Adenegan is a bronze medallist from Rio 2016 and silver at the Dubai 2019 Worlds finishing behind Cockroft. She also has bronze medals from the Doha 2015 and London 2017 Worlds.
USA’s Alexa Halko has been battling for the podium with the two British wheelchair racers in the last six years. She took silver at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Doha 2015, and London 2017 Worlds. Halko’s finished with a bronze at Dubai 2019. She set the third-fastest time this year at the US National Trials in June.
In the men's 800m T34, Mohamed Alhammadi of United Arab Emirates is the reigning Paralympic and world champion. Between 2013 until 2017, Alhammadi won three silver medals at the World Championships.
Tunisia’s Walid Ktila took three gold medals in those World Championships but he lost out to Alhammadi on two occasions, settling for silver at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and Dubai 2019 Worlds. Ktila is the fastest wheelchair racer this year with a time set in Switzerland in May. Besides Alhammadi and Ktila, there are two more names to watch out for in the men’s final. Australia’s Rheed McCracken is the bronze medallist from Rio 2016 Paralympics, while China’s Yang Wang won bronze at the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
The USA’s Isaac Jean-Paul is the main favourite to gold in the men’s long jump T13. He is leading the rankings in 2021 with a result set at a competition in California in April. Jean-Paul won bronze at the London 2017 Worlds and a silver medal at the Dubai 2019 Worlds. Spain’s Ivan Jose Cano Blanco finished third at the Dubai 2019 Worlds. He has a gold medal from the Berlin 2018 Euros and silver at the Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros in June. He set the third-best result of the year in Poland.
The women’s 400m T13 will be one of the highlights of the morning session. Spain’s Adiaratou Iglesias is here as the fastest woman this year and the reigning European champion from Bydgoszcz. Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova set the second-fastest time in 2021 at the same competition and took silver. She is the most experienced athlete in the race with a bronze from the Rio 2016 Games and gold at the London 2017 Worlds. Adzhametova won bronze at the Dubai 2019 Worlds. Brazil’s Rayane Soares Da Silva is the reigning world champion from Dubai. She set the fifth-fastest time of the year at the National Trials in Sao Paulo in June.
Ukraine’s Ihor Tsvietov is the favourite in the men’s 200m T35. He is the fastest man in 2021 and a world record holder. The 27-year-old will compete in Tokyo as the defending Paralympic champion, back-to-back world champion, and reigning European champion. RPC’s Dmitrii Safronov is the second-fastest in 2021. He set his season-best at the Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros where he won silver - the same result from the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
The men’s 100m T36 will close the morning session will Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi from Malaysia, the reigning Paralympic champion and the world champion from Doha 2015 Worlds, as the favourite. He won silver at the London 2017 Worlds and bronze at the Dubai 2019.
Australia’s James Turner is the man to beat at the moment in the men’s 100m T36. He is the world record holder and the reigning world champion from Dubai. Turner set the fastest time of the year in March at a competition in Canberra. Yifei Yang from China was second at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. A year later he won the World Championships title in London and took another silver at the Dubai 2019 Worlds. Brazil’s Rodrigo Parreira has a bronze medal from the Rio 2016 Paralympics to his name. He won bronze at the London 2017 Worlds and most recently finished third at the Lima 2019 Para Pan Am Games. RPC’s Evgenii Shvetsov is another one to watch in Tokyo. He is going to compete as the third-fastest sprinter in 2021 with a time set at the Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros where he won gold.
The men’s long jump T20 will have Malaysia’s Abdul Latif Romly, the world record holder and the reigning Paralympic champion from Rio 2016, who has two World Championships titles (Doha 2015 and London 2017) and two Asian Para Games titles (Incheon 2014 and Jakarta 2018) in his collection. But he lost his title in 2019 taking silver at the Dubai Worlds behind Dutch jumper Ranki Oberoi.
The women’s 200m T11 will have Great Britain’s Libby Clegg in the leading role. She is the defending Paralympic champion and the reigning European champion from Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros. She set the fourth-fastest time of the year in Poland. Cuiqing Liu from China is the world record holder and the reigning world champion from Dubai 2019 Worlds. She won silver at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and another silver at the London 2017 Worlds.
Brazil’s Thalita Simplicio won silver at the Dubai 2019 Worlds behind Liu. She is the fastest woman in 2021 with the time set at the National Trials in Sao Paulo.
In the women’s discus F38, China’s Na Mi is the favourite to win gold as a two-time Paralympic champion from Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016. She has three World Championships titles from Doha 2015, London 2017, and Dubai 2019. Renee Danielle Foessel from Canada is leading the ranks in 2021. Her only international medal so far came in Dubai at the World Championships where she finished third. Cuba’s Omara Durand will try to win her third medal in Tokyo in the women’s 200m T12. She is the world record holder and reigning Paralympic champion from Rio 2016. Durand is a three-time world champion (Doha 2015, London 2017, and Dubai 2019) and two-time Parapan Am Games gold medallist in the race (Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019). The Cuban legend set the fastest time in 2021 at the Tunis Grand Prix in April. Germany’s Katrin Mueller Rottgardt is in second place with a time set at another Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland in May. Ukraine’s Oksana Boturchuk is another name to watch out for in Tokyo. She is the silver medallist from the Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympics. Boturchuk won the Berlin 2018 Euros, as well as a silver medal at the Doha 2015 Worlds and bronze at the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
The last field event in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be the men’s shot put F63. Great Britain’s Aled Davies is the reigning world champion and back-to-back European champion. Davies is followed by Luxembourg’s Tom Habscheid. He is the world record holder and took silver behind Davies at the Berlin 2018 Euros, Dubai 2019 Worlds, and Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros. Iran’s Sajad Mohammadian may pose a threat for Davies and Habscheid as the bronze medallist from Dubai 2019.
Track events will close the competition programme on day nine. USA’s Deja Young will be defending her Paralympic title in the women’s 200m T47. She is also back-to-back world champion and Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games gold medallist. Young is the fourth-fastest sprinter this year with her compatriot Brittni Mason in the first place. Saska Sokolov from Serbia is in second place, while Poland’s Alicja Jeromin holds onto the third position in 2021. Jeromin is the silver medallist from the Rio 2016 Paralympics. She won gold at the Grosseto 2016 Euros and two silver medals at the Berlin 2018 and Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros.
American Deja Young aims back-to-back medals in the women's 200m T47
Other medal candidates are South Africa’s Anrune Wejers, silver medallist at the London 2017 and Dubai 2019 Worlds; Colombia's Lisbeli Andrade - bronze at Dubai 2019 -; and China's Lu Li, bronze in London four years ago. Jarryd Wallace and Jonathan Gore from the USA have set the benchmark in the men’s 200m T64 this year. Wallace is in first place with Gore in second in the rankings in 2021. They have both set their fastest times at the US National Trials in Minneapolis in June. Germany’s Felix Streng is the Berlin 2018 Euros gold medallist, while Dutch Para-athlete Levi Vloet achieved the same in Bydgoszcz in June. Greece’s Michail Seitis is the bronze medallist from Bydgoszcz and silver medallist from the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
Next up is the women’s 400m T38 with Hungary's Luca Ekler looking for a gold medal in her Paralympic debut. She is the world record holder and reigning European champion. She set the new world record at the Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros. Kadeena Cox from Great Britain is the defending Paralympic champion, London 2017 Worlds winner, and silver medallist from the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
Brazil’s Petrucio Ferreira will finish his journey at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the men’s 400m T47 final. He is the reigning world and Parapan Am Games champion, as well as the silver medallist from the Rio Paralympics.
He set the season-best time at the National Trials in Sao Paulo in June. His compatriot Thomaz de Moraes is in second place with a time set at the same competition.
Moraes won the silver medal at the Dubai 2019 Worlds with Morocco’s Ayoub Sadni finishing in third place. Sadni is third in the rankings this year as well.
The last track event at the National Olympic Stadium will mark the Paralympic debut of a star in the making. Italy's Ambra Sabatini made her international debut this year in the women’s 100m T63 breaking the world record at the Dubai World Para Athletics Grand Prix in February. Italy will be eyeing a complete podium sweep with Martina Caironi and Monica Contrafatto.
Timing: 9:00 - 21:00 JST
Semifinals in all 14 categories and finals in seven will be held on the penultimate day of badminton competitions at the Paralympic Games. Hosts Japan have their representatives in 12 semifinals while China has in 11. Both India and Indonesia have six contestants each in the semis.
Watch out for India’s Pramod Bhagat and Daniel Betheil of Great Britain in the Sl3 category. They had fought a great battle in the final of the 2019 World Championships and it looks like they will meet again in Tokyo.
Bhagat will take on Daisuke Fujihara in the semis while Bethell will meet another Indian Manoj Sarkar. Bhagat had won in 2019 Worlds. So, will Bethell be able to upstage him in Tokyo? Bhagat is also in contention in the mixed doubles with Palak Kohli (Sl3-Su5).
Also, watch out for Qu Zimo of China who will be in contention in two semis. Ranked No. 1 in the world, Qu had a sensational 2019, becoming world champion in the men’s singles WH1 and doubles WH1-2. He finished the year with triple crowns (singles, doubles, and mixed doubles) at the China and Turkey Para-Badminton Internationals. On top of all that, he is still a rising talent, turning 20 just before the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo 2020.
China's Qu Zimo
Liu Yutong, another Chinese in contention in two sections. Liu was only 15 when she rose to world No. 1 in the women’s singles WH2. She beat compatriot Li Hongyan in the 2019 Worlds final, as well as claiming gold in the women’s doubles alongside Menglu Yin. Liu’s remarkable talent was seen in 2017 when she captured her first World Championships title in the singles category. In 2018, she won two gold medals at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia – the women’s singles WH2 and the mixed doubles WH1-2 with Qu Zimo.
Timing: 9:30 - 13:50 JST and 15:20 - 21:15 JST
Semi-finals will be played in three categories -- BC1-2, BC3, and BC4 - which will be followed by bronze medal matches and finals.
Hosts Japan figure in two categories so do Hong Kong, China, and Portugal. Thailand is a strong contender in BC1/BC2 .
Timing: 9:30 - 12:35 JST
Semifinals followed by five finals will be held in Kayak and Canoe Sprints.
Watch out for Shakhnoza Mirzaeva of Uzbekistan, the young newcomer who burst into the scene when she won silver at the 2017 World Championships in the women’s KL3 behind Australian Paralympic champion Amanda Reynolds. Proving her medal was no fluke, she showcased her strength with World Cup victories in 2018 and 2019, and upgraded her silver to gold at the 2019 Worlds. But her biggest rival, Laura Sugar of Great Britain, has been tailing the 22-year-old closely in all events. Expect a tight battle for the Paralympic podium in Tokyo.
Also watch out for Maryna Mazhula of Ukraine who entered the international stage after Rio 2016 but only began making noise two years after when she became the new KL1 world champion. She has progressed quickly, paddling faster on the water with her Paralympic debut insight. The two-time world champion is part of a strong Ukrainian club that has shown its strength on the kayak.
Timing: Matches at 11:30 and 17:30 JST
Traditional rivals Brazil and Argentina will battle it out for the goal. Brazil has won the gold in all four editions since 2004 in which 5-a-side football has been held. They defeated Argentina in the 2004 final in extra time. Argentina had won a bronze medal in Rio 2016. Argentina has done well in this event and will be hoping to cap it off by winning the gold.
Brazil and Argentina ready for another face-off, now in the Tokyo 2020 final
Timing: 9:30 - 14:45 JST
Two finals will be held -- P4 Mixed 50m Pistol SH1 and R9 Mixed 50m Air Rifle Prone SH2 -- on the day.
The P4 - mixed 50m pistol SH1 will open the day’s action with Iranian shooting star Sareh Javanmardi defending her title.
Javanmardi has already successfully defended her P2 – women’s 10m air pistol title with a world and Paralympic record.
However, it may not be easy with top players including P2 medallists at Tokyo 2020 – Turkey’s Aysegul Pehlivanlar and Hungary’s Krisztina David – waiting to compensate for the missed chances here.
Challenges are also likely to be posed by China’s Yong Chao, the Tokyo 2020 gold medallist in the P1 event; Ukraine’s top shooter Denysiuk Oleksii, who already picked up a bronze in the P3 event; Sweden’s Joackim Norberg, the Rio 2016 silver medallist, and three-time world champion.
RPC’s Sergey Malyshev, a two-time Paralympic medallist, would be also keen to come out with his best show.
The category is also set to witness one of the oldest athletes competing at the Tokyo 2020 Games, Yelena Taranova from Azerbaijan. The 60-year-old, who is a Sydney 2000 silver medallist and Athens 2004 bronze medallist, would be hoping to end her career on a high.
Meanwhile, India would rest their hopes on promising Manish Narwal, who holds the world record in the P4 event which he set at the Al Ain 2021 World Cup months ahead of the Games. Bronze medallist in the P1 event, Singhraj will also be in action in the category.
The R9 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH2 final closest the penultimate day in the Asaka Shooting Range.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist in the R5 event, Dragan Ristic from Serbia would be among the favourites for the title.
Serbia's Dragon Ristic
Ukraine would be hoping to get some results with their stars Vasyl Kovalchuk, the Tokyo 2020 silver medallist, and Vitalii Plakushchyi, reigning world champion in R4, in the line-up. Kovalchuk is a two-time Paralympic gold medallist in the R5 event.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s two-time Paralympic gold medallist from Beijing 2008 Games Lee Jiseok would be eager to finish it on the podium after 13 long years. He is also a two-time gold medallist at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games and a two-time world champion.
France's 65-year-old Alain Quittet who has a Paralympic bronze in the cycling time trial at Beijing 2008, would be hoping to make a mark at Tokyo 2020 [his debut in shooting] before he retires.
Timing: Matches at 14:00, 16:30 and 19:00 JST
The Islamic Republic of Iran, the most successful team in Paralympic Games history will contest the final against the Russian Paralympic Committee in the men’s section while Brazil will meet Bosnia and Herzegovina to decide the bronze medal.
Six-time gold medal winners Iran look quite strong on paper and they showed their might in beating Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 2016 Rio silver medallist, 3-0 while Brazil won set against RPC. However, Russia have done well in attack and service throughout the event and it could be an interesting encounter.
Timing: 10:00 - 15:00 JST and 17:00 - 22:00 JST
Medals will be decided in two weight classes -- Men’s +75 and Women’s +58.
WATCH OUT FOR
Amy Truesdale (GBR): Truesdale (portrayed kicking below) picked up Para taekwondo at age 7 and grew to become one of the sport’s pioneers. Until a stunning golden point quarter final loss at the 2019 World Championships, the veteran fighter had medalled at every Worlds since the sport started – none sweeter than winning her first gold on home soil in 2017. The three-time European champion has fallen to some of the division’s top fighters, including three-time world champion Aynur Mammadova of Azerbaijan, Morocco’s three-time African champion Rajae Akermach and, at the last Worlds, two-sport phenom Shoko Ota from Japan. Still, the No. 1-ranked Truesdale remains the favourite for gold in the women’s +58 kg K44 in Tokyo.
Great Britain's Amy Truesdale
Another athlete who is a top contender for the gold medal is Brazilian Debora Menezes. She is the reigning +58kg world champion, part of a strong Brazil team, and has some of the most eye-catching results of 2021.
Timing: 14:15 - 20:30 JST
China and the Netherlands meet in the women’s gold medal match. China have caused a huge upset in the semi-finals by beating multiple-times winner and Rio 2016 gold medallist the United States 41-36 in a close encounter. The Netherlands got the better of Germany 52-42. It would be a close match. The Netherlands are bronze medallists from 2016 and 2012.
Timing: Matches start 10:00 JST onwards
Three finals -- Quad Singles, Women’s doubles, and Men’s Singles -- will be played.
In women’s doubles, Netherlands’s Diede van Groot and Aniek van Koot will be the favourite as the Dutch have won all the titles so far since the sport made its debut in 1992 at Barcelona. Van Groot will be hoping to add another title to her kitty after completing the Golden Slam by winning the singles title on Friday.
Dylan Alcott of Australia will also be hoping to complete the Golden Slam by winning the Quad Singles title. Alcott is the defending champion and the World No. 1
The Men’s singles gold medal match will be played between Japan’s Shingo Kunieda and Tom Egberine of the Netherlands. Kunieda had beaten 2016 gold medallist Gordon Reid in the semi-final.
World No. 1 and local player Shingo Kunieda is in the men's singles final
The first wheelchair tennis player to win back-to-back Paralympic men’s singles gold medals after being victorious at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, Shingo Kunieda is the most decorated active player. He is is a five-time Paralympic medallist before Tokyo. In September 2020, he broke the record for most Grand Slam wheelchair titles held by one player when he won his seventh US Open men’s singles title and his 45th career Grand Slam title across singles and doubles events.