A historic night witnessed the first Paralympic champions in taekwondo crowned on Day 9 (2 September) of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Iran’s Zahra Nemati was outstanding in a shoot-off to make Para archery history; and medals matches were decided across football 5-a-side, goalball and wheelchair basketball.
Here are some of the highlights of the day:
KICKING THINGS OFF
Taekwondo made its Paralympic debut in style with favourites getting upset, including Mongolia’s world champions Enktuya Enkurelbaatar and Bolor Erdene Gabat not reaching their respective finals. Instead, Brazil’s Nathan Sodario Torquato went on to win the men’s up to 61kg K44, while Peru’s Leonor Espinoza Carranza won the women’s up to 49kg K44. It was Peru’s first Paralympic gold since Sydney 2000.
STILL HAS IT
Iran’s Zahra Nemati broke down in tears after shooting her winning arrow. She hit a perfect 10 in a shoot-off to win her third individual Paralympic gold in a row in Tokyo, successfully defending the title she first won at London 2012 and repeated at Rio 2016.
She is the second archer in history, after Paola Fantato, to win golds at three different editions of the Paralympic Games.
She has consistently made history since becoming the first woman from Iran to win a gold medal at either the Olympic or Paralympic Games, back in 2012.
FINALS FIGHTERS DECIDED
To the delight of the host nation, Japan's Yui Kamiji and Shingo Kunieda booked their places in the women's and men’s wheelchair tennis singles finals, respectively. Kunieda will face Netherlands’ Tom Egberink, who upset multiple Grand Slam winner Alfie Hewett of Great Britain. Kamiji will face another Dutch opponent and world No 1 Diede de Groot.
Brazil will face traditional rivals Argentina in a repeat of the gold medal match at football 5-a-side’s debut at Athens 2004. Argentina defeated China in the semi-finals, while Brazil held off Morocco in their match to advance.
In goalball, Brazil comfortably saw off defending champions Lithuania 9-5 to reach their second final in three Games with a commanding second half performance. Brazil will take on China, who defeated the USA.
Meanwhile, Rio 2016 bronze medallists the USA reached a first women’s final since 2008 as they beat Brazil 3-2 on overthrows in a dramatic semi-final that saw the US win 5-4. They will face Turkey who dashed the host’s hopes of gold with a 8-5 triumph over Japan.
In wheelchair basketball, the Netherlands’ defeated rivals Germany to reach the women’s finals, and will face China after beating the USA.
WHAT ELSE HAPPENED
Thailand’s Pongsakorn Paeyo completed his own golden treble, in the men’s 800m T53 event, as Canada’s Brent Lakatos had to settle for silver for the fourth time at Tokyo 2020.
Cuba’s ‘queen of speed’ Omara Durand cruised to victory in the women’s 100m T12. It was her second gold of the Paralympic Games after victory in the 400m, and the seventh of her glittering career. She starts her Tokyo hat-trick bid in the 200m heats on Friday.
In the penultimate day in the pool, Australia won three golds from William Martin, Ben Hance and Rachael Watson. Martin set a world record en-route to victory in the men’s 100m butterfly S9. Hance added gold in the men’s 100m backstroke S14 to the silver and bronze he had already won, before Rachael Watson made it three in the women’s 50m freestyle S4.