Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Day 8: Paralympic Games preview

Para badminton makes its debut in a day where a total of 43 medals will be at stake in several sports, including athletics and swimming 31 Aug 2021
 Yuma Yamazaki with Sarina Satomi
The opening of the first Para badminton tournament in the Paralympics is this Wednesday at Tokyo 2020

The first day of September will have 43 medals decided with athletics and swimming offering the most of them. 

Para badminton will start its debut with preliminary round matches while preliminary round matches will continue in goalball, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.


Timing: 9:00 - 12:12 JST

Due to extreme weather, the women's individual W1 competition was scheduled for this Wednesday at the Yumenoshima Park. China's Chen Minyi targets her second gold in Tokyo, after winning the W1 mixed team competition. Liu Jing, also from the Chinese team, is another clear favourite. 


Timing: 9:30 - 12:27 JST and 19:00 - 21:57 JST

There will be 14 finals on Wednesday, five in the morning and nine in the evening session.


Mauricio Valencia (COL): In the men’s javelin F34, the Colombian is the favourite to gold as the reigning Paralympic champion and world record holder. The 33-year-old from Cali is the back-to-back world champion from London 2017 and Dubai 2019. Valencia set the second-best mark of the year at the Dubai World Para Athletics Grand Prix in February, while his compatriot Diego Meneses Medina threw the javelin even further at the Tunis GP. 

Mauricio Valencia 

In the women’s discus F41, Tunisia’s Raoua Tlili already tasted Paralympic success. She won the gold medal at Rio 2016 and added three World Championships titles to her name. She set the second-best result in 2021 at the Jesolo Grand Prix in April. Moroccan thrower Youssra Karim set the benchmark this year at the Tunis Grand Prix. She will be Tlili’s main rival in Tokyo as the world record holder and silver medallist from the Dubai 2019 Worlds. Ireland’s Niamh McCarthy will compete in Tokyo as the third-best in 2021. She has defended her European Championships gold medal in Poland in June, while she also has three World Championships medals and a second-place from Rio 2016 Paralympics to her collection.

In the men’s long jump T38 that has been dominated by Chinese athletes in recent years, Huanghao Zhong is the silver medallist from Rio 2016, London 2017 Worlds, and the Jakarta 2018 Asian Para Games. His compatriot Dening Zhu is the reigning world champion from Dubai 2019.

RPC’s Khetag Khinchagov was the silver medallist in Dubai but won gold at the European Championships in Bydgoszcz in June. He set the second-best result of the year in Euros. Only Colombia’s Jose Lemos Rivas jumped longer than Khinchagov in 2021 with a mark set at the Tunis Grand Prix.

In the men’s shot put F46, USA’s Josh Cinnamo will be competing as the reigning world champion from Dubai 2019 and the current world record holder. London 2017 world champion Enlong Wei from China will also be competing in Tokyo. Abrahan Ortega Abello from Venezuela will come to the Paralympic Games as the ranking leader in the event with the best performance at a competition in Colombia in March. Great Britain’s Greg Stewart is the third-best in the event this year. He is also the Dubai 2019 Worlds silver medallist. RPC’s Nikita Prokhorov was third in Dubai and took gold at this year’s European Championships in Bydgoszcz.

In the men’s 400m T37, South Africa’s Charl Du Toit is the defending Paralympic champion, as well as the world champion from London in 2017. He is the fastest man in the event this year with the world record holder Andrei Vdovin behind him. RPC’s Vdonin is the reigning world and European champion from Dubai 2019 and Bydgoszcz 2021. Poland’s Michal Kotkowski was behind Vdovin in Bydgoszcz in June, while he won the European title in Berlin three years ago.

The afternoon programme at the National Olympic Stadium will start with two field events. First up will be the women’s shot put F32 where RPC’s Evgeniia Galaktionova is the favourite to take the gold medal. She is the best performer this year with a result set at Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros that gave her the gold medal. Galaktionova won a silver medal at the Dubai 2019 Worlds where her biggest rival Anastasiia Moskalenko took first place. Ukraine’s Moskalenko had to settle for the silver medal at this year’s European Championships where she also set the second-best time in 2021. Noura Alktebi from the United Arab Emirates could disrupt the plans for Galaktionova and Moskalenko as the silver medallist from the previous Paralympics in Rio.

In the women’s shot put T36 class, China’s Qing Wu is a three-time Paralympic medallist and five-time World Championships medallist - two of them gold from Doha 2015 and London 2017.

Germany's Juliane Mogge is the silver medallist from London 2017, while the RPC’s Galina Lipatnikova won silver two years later in Dubai.

The best mark so far this year belongs to Colombia’s Martha Hernandez Florian at the Nottwil Grand Prix in May in Switzerland.

In the women’s 100m T36, China’s Shi Yiting is the clear favourite as the reigning back-to-back world champion and the world record holder. Argentina’s Yanina Martinez is the defending Paralympic champion and a three-time World Championships silver medallist. Danielle Aitchison from New Zealand is the fastest woman in the event this year, while Brazil’s Samira Da Silva Brito holds second place. Her compatriot Tascitha Oliveira is another one worth highlighting as the bronze medallist from Dubai 2019 Worlds.

Germany’s Claudia Nicoleitzik is the silver medallist from Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, while she also has three World and European Championships medals to her name.

Next up will be the men’s 100m T53 with Canada’s Brent Lakatos leading the pack. He is the world record holder, reigning Paralympic champion, and four-time world champion. On top of that, Lakatos is the fastest wheelchair racer in the event in 2021.

Canada's Brent Lakatos is the current men's 100m T53 Paralympic champion

Abdulrahmen Alqurashi from Saudi Arabia is the second-fastest year. His biggest achievement is the silver medal from the Dubai 2019 Worlds. France’s Pierre Fairbank follows up in the rankings as the third-fastest in 2021. He is the bronze medallist from the Doha 2015 Worlds and a three-time European champion, most recently in Bydgoszcz in June.

Finland’s Leo-Pekka Tahti is the man to beat in the men’s 100m T54. The 38-year-old is the six-time European champion, five-time world champion, and four-time Paralympic gold medallist with his successful run dating back to the Athens 2004. China’s Yang Liu will try to dethrone Tahti. The Chinese defeated the Finnish legend for gold at the Doha 2015 Worlds but had to settle for silver on four occasions at the Paralympics and World Championships. Kenny van Weeghel from the Netherlands is another one to watch as a five-time World Championships medallist and a two-time Paralympics medallist.

The men’s club throw F51 is traditionally one of the longest events of the whole Para athletics competition. Serbia’s Zeljko Dimitrijevic is the reigning Paralympic, world, and European champion, as well as the world record holder and the best performer in 2021.

Dimitrijevic set his season-best at the Euros in Bydgoszcz in June. Slovakia’s Marian Kureja and another Serbian Aleksandar Radisic also set their best results of the season in Poland. Kureja should be the biggest threat for Dimitrijevic in Tokyo as the silver medallist from the Rio 2016 Paralympics and this year's Euros.

Mexico’s Mario Ramos Hernandez won the silver medal at the Dubai 2019 Worlds, while India’s Amit Kumar did the same two years earlier in London. They will both be in action at Tokyo 2020.

There are three more finals on the schedule. One of them was led by one of the biggest athletes in Para athletics history. Germany's Markus Rehm will be putting his own limits to test again and trying to break the men's long jump T64 world record. 

The 32-year-old from Goppingen is a two-time Paralympic champion in the long jump and set a new world record at the Euros in Bydgoszcz with 8.62m - a mark only achieved by 12 non-disabled athletes in history. USA’s Trenten Merrill is second in the rankings this year while France's Dimitri Pavade is the Dubai 2019 World Championships silver medallist.

The last two competition at the National Olympic Stadium on day six will be 100m finals in the women's T53 and T54 classes.

First up is the women’s 100m T53 final. China's Hongzhuan Zhou and Fang Gao are likely to battle for gold. Zhou is the silver medallist from the last two editions of the Paralympics, while Gao has the Dubai 2019 World Championships title to her name.

Australia’s Angela Ballard is the three-time Paralympic bronze medallist and a two-time World Championships medallist. Great Britain’s Samantha Kinghorn also has a lot of experience in the event. She is the world champion from London in 2017 and a European champion from Swansea seven years ago. Most importantly, Kinghorn set the fastest time of the year at the Nottwil Grand Prix in May. Switzerland’s Catherine Debrunner is the owner of the second-fastest time this year.

Finland’s Amanda Kotaja is the favourite to take her first Paralympic title in the women’s 100m T54. She is the reigning back-to-back world champion and a three-time European champion from 2014 to 2018. Kotaja set the fastest time in 2021 at a competition in Finland in July. 

She is followed by the USA’s Hannah Dederick and Cheri Madsen in second and third place. Madsen has more international experience as the silver and bronze medallist from London 2017 and Dubai 2019 Worlds. China’s Zhaoqian Zhou and Turkey’s Zubeyde Supurgeci will also be in contention for medals. Zhou is the silver medallist from the Dubai 2019 Worlds, while Supurgeci took the European title in Bydgoszcz two months ago.


Timing: 18:00 - 22:00 JST

Para badminton action will start on Wednesday with preliminary group league matches in different categories. In men’s singles SL3, watch out for India's Pramod Bhagat, Manoj Sarkar, and Daniel Bethell (GBR).

Bhagat is the world No 1, with Bethell No 2. In the women's field, keep an eye on Leani Ratri Oktila of Indonesia, who was crowned Badminton World Federation Female Para-Badminton Player of 2019. Ratri Oktila will be one of the hot favourites in Tokyo. She claimed her first world women’s singles SL4 title in 2019, in a season that saw her win 12 gold, two silver, and one bronze medal. Few would bet against her adding to her impressive medal tally in Tokyo.

India's Bhagat is the World No. 1 in para badminton


Timing: 9:30 - 13:25 JST

In the BC3 Gold Medal Match, Grigorios Polychronidis (GRE) will meet Adam Peska (CZE). Grigorios took up boccia with the dream of participating in his home Paralympics at Athens 2004. That dream became a reality after he found himself in the quarter-finals of the individual BC3 event in Athens. But reaching the Paralympics was not the end goal.

In the next three Paralympics, Polychronidis has felt the heartbreak of missing out on an individual title. The Greek finally secured his first major individual gold at the 2018 World Championships, where he beat South Korea’s Howon Jeong, the very opponent whom he lost to in the gold medal match at the 2016 Paralympics. After a European title in 2019, the veteran athlete has experience on his side as he targets Paralympic glory. 

Grigorios Polychronidis (Greece) is in the BC3 gold medal match

The Individual BC2 Gold Medal Match will be an all-Asian affair with Thailand’s Vongsa Watcharaphon taking on Hidetaka Sugimura of Japan.


Timing: 9:30 - 14:20 JST

Six finals will be held on the day.

Watch out for Luca Mazzone (ITA), who will be taking part in his fifth Paralympics but second as a cyclist. He won Paralympic medals in swimming but his first golds came in cycling at Rio 2016, where he won the time trial and silver in the road race H2. He also helped Italy celebrate gold in the team relay, and the Italian is not slowing down, having won a pair of world titles in 2019. 

In the Women’s H5, watch out for the multi-talented Oksana Masters (USA), who has competed in Winter and Summer Paralympics in cross-country skiing, biathlon, rowing, and cycling. She is coming off her first Paralympic golds from PyeongChang 2018, winning the cross-country sprint and middle distance races. So far, the on-snow training seems to pay dividends on the road. She missed the road race podium at Rio 2016 but looks determined not to repeat that result in Tokyo, having already taken a pair of silver medals in the time trial H5 at the 2019 Worlds.


Timing: 9:30 - 15:00 JST

Two finals -- R3 Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 Final and the R5 Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 Final -- will be held on Tuesday.

In the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 watch out for India’s Avani Lekhara, who won the gold medal in Women’s 10m Air Rifle SH1, as she will be going for her second gold medal in the company of Siddharth Babu/Deepak. 

Avani Lekhara wants to bring another gold for India in shooting

Also watch out for Veronika Vadovicova (SVK). A veteran and legend in the making, Vadovicova made her international debut in 1999. One of the sport’s all-time greats, the Slovakian continues to bat away challengers as she goes up against the sport’s next generation of stars. She will be looking to add a fourth Paralympic title in Tokyo, at her sixth straight Paralympic Games. Along the way she has set many records, including world and Paralympic, and an incredible seven World Cup titles in 2017 alone. Expected to compete at almost every rifle event in Tokyo, she will enter as the defending champion in the R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1) and R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1). Her 2019 Worlds was not her strongest showing, leaving with only one gold in her four individual events – the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1). But expect her to remain sharp as ever this summer.


Timing: 9:00 - 10:41 JST and 17:00 - 19:49 JSt

The first day of the new month will see 15 medal events being conducted at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

In the men’s 100m breaststroke SB7, Colombia will have high expectations as Carlos Serrano will be defending his Rio 2016 Paralympic title. He is also also the current world champion and the fastest in the event this season. RPC’s Egor Efrosinin will be Zarate’s main rival in Tokyo as the reigning European champion from Madeira 2020 and the third-fastest man this year. He finished second at the London 2019 World Championships behind Serrano.

Australia’s world champion Tiffany Thomas-Kane will be facing USA's Para-swimming legend Jessica Long for a place on the women's 100m breaststroke SB7 podium. Three out of Long's 23 Paralympic medals came to this event. She is the second-fastest this year behind New Zealand’s Nikita Howarth. Thomas-Kane appears third in the 2021 rankings.

In the men’s 100m freestyle S6, Italy’s Antonio Fantin is the fastest man in 2021. The former water polo player set his season-best time at the European Championships in Madeira where he also broke the world record. To win his first Paralympic gold Fantin will have to beat Cuban legend Lorenzo Perez Escalona, the defending champion. His Rio 2016 gold was the first for Cuba in Para swimming at the Paralympic Games. Thijs van Hofweegen from the Netherlands and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Komarov are second and third in the world rankings this year. Lima 2019 Parapan American Games champion Nelson Crispin from Colombia has the fourth-fastest time this year.

In the men’s 400m freestyle S10 final, Ukraine’s Maksym Krypak will be targeting another first place. He is the defending Paralympic champion and world record holder. Dutch Para swimmer Bas Takken and Italy's Stefano Raimondi have not been successful in their recent attempts to beat Krypak finishing second at the London 2019 Worlds and Madeira 2020 Euros, respectively.

Canada's Aurelie Rivard will be targeting her second consecutive Paralympic gold in the women's 400m freestyle S10. The 25-year-old from Quebec is the world record holder and is likely to face fierce competition from Poland’s Oliwia Jablonska and Hungary’s Bianka Pap, the reigning European champion from Madeira and the fastest woman in the event this year. She is followed by Jablonska who won a silver medal at the Euros. The Polish swimmer won back-to-back world titles in 2017 and 2019.

Canada's Aurelie Rivard won in Rio and swims for her second consecutive medal

China’s world record holder Yang Bozun leading the way in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB11. He is a two-time Paralympic champion and the London 2019 world champion. Japan’s Keiichi Kimura is a two-time Paralympic and four-time World Championships medallist who will be in search of his first gold in 100m breaststroke. He has the second-best time of the year behind Dutch swimmer Rogier Dorsman.

The women’s 100m breaststroke SB11 is dominated by Chinese swimmer Jia Ma, who is the reigning world champion and world record holder. The vision-impaired athlete is also the fastest in 2021 setting her time at the Berlin World Cup in June.

Liesette Bruinsma from the Netherlands and Ukraine’s Yana Berezhna are second and third in the world rankings this year. Bruinsma is the Rio 2016 Paralympics and London 2019 Worlds silver medallist, while Berezhna holds the European title from Madeira in May.

Italy’s Federico Morlacchi is the reigning Paralympic and two-time world champion in the men's 200m SM9. France’s Ugo Didier triumphed at the Madeira 2020 European Championships, while the RPC’s Andrei Kalina took gold at the London 2019 Worlds. Australia’s Timothy Hodge has the best time of the year.

New Zealand and Sophie Pascoe will be hoping for more gold in the women’s 200m SM9. The world record holder and five-time Paralympic medallist will be facing the likes of newly crowned European champion Zsofia Konkoly from Hungary, alongside Spain's Nuria Marques and Sarai Gascon.

The men’s 50m freestyle S5 is set to be the highlight of the day with Paralympic legend Daniel Dias making his final appearance in the Games before his retirement. He is a two-time Paralympic champion and five-time World Championships gold medallist in the event. His main rivals in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre will be Chinese swimmers Weiyi Yuan and Tao Zheng, first and second in the world rankings this year. They have both set their season-best results at the Berlin World Cup two months ago.

Dias himself set the third-fastest time this year at the National Trials in June with Italy’s Francesco Bocciardo following in fourth place. 

In the women's 50m freestyle S8. RPC’s Viktoriia Ishchiulova is the reigning European champion and the fastest woman in the event this year. Italy’s Xenia Francesca Palazzo sits in second, while Brazil's Cecilia Araujo holds onto third place in 2021. The morning heats will see Alejandra Aybar become the first Para swimmer from Dominican Republic to compete at the Paralympic Games. 

Day eight will conclude with the men's and women's 100m breaststroke SB12. Ukraine’s Oleksii Fedyna is the reigning world champion and the world record holder but he lost the European title to Azerbaijan’s Vali Israfilov in May.

Uladzimir Izotau from Belarus is another one to watch as the defending Paralympic champion, five-time World Championships, and four-time European Championships medallist. 

Brazil’s Maria Gomes Santiago is the fastest woman this year in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB12. She set her best time at the National Trials in June in Sao Paulo.


Timing: 10:00 - 16:00 JST and 17:30 - 21:30 JST

Semi-finals in Men’s and Women’s Team competitions in most classes with the winners moving to the finals to play for gold or silver while the losers getting bronze medals. China is in the semis in five events and will face some competitions.


Timing: 11:00 onwards

Semifinals will be played in women’s doubles with Dutch pair de Groot/van Koot favourite against Japan’s Kamiji/Ohtani. Medals will be decided in Men’s Quad Doubles.

Diede de Groot is in the women's doubles semifinal