First triumph for Barlaam, Boki unstoppable

Day five at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre sees first Paralympic victory of the Italian star and fourth gold for Belarus Para swimming icon 29 Aug 2021
A man kisses the gold medal with a smile on his face. He is holding the miniature mascot in the other hand
Simone Barlaam of Italy added the Paralympic gold medal to his world and European titles in the men's 50m freestyle S9
ⒸBuda Mendes/Getty Images
By OIS and World Para Swimming

Italy's Para swimming star Simone Barlaam won his first-ever Paralympic medal on Sunday (29 August), day five of competition in the Tokyo Aquatics Centre at the Paralympic Games.

Barlaam triumphed in the men's 50m freestyle S9 with a time of 24.71 in front of the RPC's Denis Tarasov and USA's Jamal Hill.

"It feels surreal, although it wasn't one of my best performances time-wise. Before the race with all the expectation I was [grimacing] to myself, because this is a new environment for me," said the reigning world and European champion in the event.

Boki on top for the fourth time

Ihar Boki from Belarus sent an ominous warning to his rivals by revealing his appetite for medals is getting even greater after he claimed his fourth title so far at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The Belarus athlete won the men’s 50m freestyle S13 (23.21) to make it four trips to the top of the podium in Tokyo, his 15th title over the course of three Paralympic Games.

Boki, though, is intent on winning his remaining two events to make it a clean sweep.

"Every medal gives me energy to get a new medal, gives me positive energy to get another medal," he said.

China bagged two golds

The outcome of the re-swim of the women’s 50m freestyle S11 was an exact repeat of the initial race on Friday which was declared void after two vision-impaired athletes made contact impacting the result of the race.

Once more, Ma Jia led home a China one-two in a world record 29.20 seconds, with LI Guizhi (CHN) taking silver.

“Of course we were a little surprised that night when we were told of a re-swim," Ma said. "But we had to accept the decision made by the organisers and adjust.”

Karolina Pelendritou took bronze, Cyprus' first medal at Tokyo 2020.

Liankang Zou won China's second gold of the day in the men's 50m backstroke S3 (45.25). He triumphed in front of Ukraine's Denys Ostapchenko by a small margin.

Three more world records

Michelle Alonso Morales of Spain made it three Paralympic golds in a row in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB14, winning in a world record 1:12.02, cutting 0.59 from the previous mark she set in April 2016.

On seeing the scoreboard, the Spaniard pulled herself on to the lane rope. "I was very excited," she said. "I wanted to cry. I thought about my family, friends and coach.”

Japan's Yamaguchi Naohide delivered gold for the hosts in the men’s equivalent race in 1:03.77, another world record.

Israel's Mar Malyar also broke the world record in the men's 400m freestyle S7. He won his second gold medal in Tokyo with a 4:31.06-mark.

USA's McKenzie Coan successfully defended her Paralympic title in the women's 400m freestyle S7 with a time of 5:05.84. In an exciting finish, the US Para swimmer touched the wall ahead of Italy's Giulia Terzi.

Brazil topped the podium twice on day five. First with Maria Carolina Santiago in the women's 50m freestyle S13 (26.82) and 50 minutes later with Gabriel Araujo in the men's 200m freestyle S2 (4:06.52).

Arjola Trimi from Italy (women's 50m backstroke S3, 51.34) and Hungary's Fanni Illes (women's 100m breaststroke SB4, 1:44.41) took the other two gold medals in women's individual competitions on Sunday.

RPC's Dmitrii Cherniaev added the Paralympic gold medal to his world and European titles in the men's 100m breaststroke SB4. He triumphed in a new world record time (1:31.96).

Italy took the final gold medal of the day in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay 34 points after USA and Great Britain were disqualified. Australia took silver and Canada bronze. 

Day six at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre will host 15 finals. Complete schedule and results are available on