Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Europe dazzle on Great Britain’s impressive showing

From the strong 227-member contingent, Great Britain amassed 124 medals including 41 gold 17 Oct 2021
Sarah Storey on the bend of the track
AT HER BEST: Dame Sarah Storey of Great Britain in action during the women's C5 3000m individual pursuit at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
ⒸOIS/Thomas Lovelock

Great Britain led the charge for Europe at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and finished second on the medals tally behind Asian giants China.

Represented by a strong 227-member contingent, Great Britain amassed 124 medals, 41 of them were gold. Twenty-six of their medals including eight gold came from swimming while cycling (10 gold) and athletics (9 gold) earned them 24 medals each.

Other European countries who finished behind Great Britain were: Russian Paralympic Committee (118 medals, 36 gold) Netherlands (59 medals, 25 gold)  and Ukraine (98 medals, 24 gold).

Swimmer Reece Dunn, Lee Pearson, and Dame Sarah Storey were their most successful representatives at Tokyo 2020, each winning three gold medals. Dunn, who dominated the women’s S14 category, also bagged a silver and a bronze medal. Pearson bagged three gold in equestrian while cyclist Storey won gold medals in road race, time trial, and 3000m individual pursuit.

THE CHAMP: Reece Dunn of Great Britain celebrates with the gold medal after winning the men’s 200m individual medley SM14 final at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Storey‘s three gold medals at Tokyo 2020 made her Britain’s most successful Paralympian with 17 gold medals and swelled her total medals tally at the Games to a whooping 28. Pearson, on the other hand, took his 14th gold medal in Para equestrian.

There were some notable family affairs. Husband and wife Neil and Lora Fachie both won Para cycling gold while the Boccia family the McGowans had both brothers competing with their assistant their mother and father.

Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) was the second most successful among the European NPCs with 118 medals in all, including 36 gold medals. Swimmer Valeriia Shabalina was their most successful representative at Tokyo with three gold and a silver in the S14 class. RPC won 49 of its medals including 17 gold from swimming while athletics contributed 38 medals to their tally.

EN ROUTE TO GOLD: Valeriia Shabalina of RPC competes in the swimming women's 200m individual medley SM14 final at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

One of the more interesting stories of the Games was RPC’s performance in sitting volleyball. The men’s team shot to success, unseating two-time Paralympic champions Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet Iran in the finals. They had to eventually settle for a silver medal but that was a big achievement for their team.

Riding on their success in swimming (17 medals) and cycling (16), the Netherlands finished with 59 medals including 25 gold for an overall fifth position. The Dutch dominated Para Cycling with nine gold medals.

Mitch Valize made headlines as he sprinted past Loic Vergnaud in the last few metres of the 79.2km men's H5 road race. Compatriot Jennette Jansen gave a similar performance in the lead pack of the women's H1-4 road race before deciding to break away with under 1km to go, bagging her 10th Paralympic medal.

Ukraine led the Eastern Europe bloc with 98 medals, 24 of them gold, thus finishing sixth on the medal table. Fourteen of their gold medals came from swimming, with Maksym Krypak delivering five of these – equalling his success during his debut at Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

CLASS ACT: Maksym Krypak in action.

Among other top performers from Europe, Natalia Partyka of Poland stood up to her reputation in Para Table Tennis with gold in the women’s team class 9-10.

However, the star paddler was upset when Australia’s Qian Yang beat her in the women’s singles class 10 semi-finals, leaving her with bronze. Compatriot Patryk Chojnowski also delivered gold in men’s singles class 10, contributing to Poland’s seven overall gold medals.

They finished 17th in the medal table with 25 medals, seven of them gold.

France finished 14th on the medal table with 54 medals, 11 of them gold. Cyclist Alexandre Léauté was their top performer with one gold and one silver and two bronze medals. They did well in cycling (5 gold), swimming, athletics, table tennis (2 gold), and badminton.

GREAT SHOW: Alexandre Leaute celebrates after winning gold in the track cycling men's C2 3000m individual pursuit final at Tokyo 2020.

Italy finished ninth on medal table with 69 medals including 14 gold medals. Carlotta Gilli and Giulia Terzi finished as their most successful representative - both with six medals each, including two gold medals.

Denmark made a strong debut in Wheelchair Rugby, beating reigning champions Australia, while in Para Equestrian Tobias Thorning Jorgensen unseated Great Britain, beating Natasha Baker to the gold medal twice.

Hungary's Peter Pal Kiss cemented his reputation in the water winning gold in the men's kayak single 200m KL1. Overall, it was a successful event for Europe at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

TAMING THE WATERS: Peter Pal Kiss raises his arm in celebration after winning gold.