Glory for Michishita, golden sweep for Hug at Tokyo in marathon

Australia’s de Rozario wins thrilling wheelchair race as Chentouf and Li defend their Paralympic titles on a final day with three podiums for the hosts 05 Sep 2021
A female runner and her guide crossing the finish line in an athletics stadium
Misato Michishita and her guide Jun Shida crossing the finish line in the National Olympic Stadium
ⒸAlex Davidson/Getty Images
By OIS and World Para Athletics

Host Japan could not have hoped for a better finish on the final day in Para athletics as Misato Michishita improved on her silver from Rio 2016 to take the gold medal in the women’s T12 marathon. 

“I felt the power of the cheering of the people who have supported us. The Paralympic Games were held in Tokyo, in our home country. Their cheering pushed us a lot,” Michishita said.

"While running, I’ve heard the voices of my coaches and people that I know, who gave us a big energy. So I was very excited to run here.”

The streets of Tokyo also saw Switzerland’s Marcel Hug prove he is the man with the golden arms after a marathon masterclass at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Sunday (5 September).

The Silver Bullet shot to his fourth gold in Tokyo to complete the clean sweep of T54 titles and finish as the most successful track and field athlete of these Paralympics - in a wheelchair he helped design.

“I don’t know how to feel. I’m just tired, empty,” Hug, who also won gold in the 800m, 1500m and 5000m T54, said.

“I’ve never really had the chance to look back at what happened because I was already looking forward at the next competition. I hope at home I will have some time to really look back and realise what happened. For me and my career, it’s just amazing.”

On whether he should now swap his silver helmet for a gold one, Hug said: 

“No, I will not change. I prefer to have silver on my head and gold around my neck.”

Hug had to do all the work on the rain-sodden streets after he and China’s Yong Zhang went clear. He finally dropped his only challenger with the National Olympic Stadium almost in sight. USA’s Daniel Romanchuk took bronze.

Nail-biting finish

It was a thrilling and much-closer affair in the women’s race as Australia’s Madison de Rozario held off Manuela Schaer in the home straight to deny Switzerland a wheelchair marathon double.

The Australian won by just 0.01 seconds after a punishing 42km race in tortuous conditions.

"That is the longest 500 metres I've ever pushed through,” said de Rozario. "To come into the stadium with a bit of a gap was nice. I wasn't just going to hold it so that finish line couldn't have come quick enough."

Nikita den Boer took bronze for the Netherlands, while wheelchair racing legend Tatyana McFadden of USA finished fifth.

RPC’s Elena Pautova finished second in the women’s T12 behind Japan’s Michishita with Louzanne Coetzee giving South Africa the bronze. 

In the men's T12 race, Morocco’s El Amin Chentouf comfortably defended his title finishing 4:26 ahead of Australia’s Jaryd Clifford. Japan clinched bronze with Tadashi Horikoshi. 

Another Rio 2016 champion defending his Paralympic title was Chaoyan Li in the men's T46. The Chinese runner set a Paralympic record of 2:25:50. Brazil’s Alex Pires da Silva took silver with Japan claiming another podium finish with Tsutomu Nagata. 

"I'm very excited and very emotional about this. It was very hard to get the medal this time. It was a huge challenge for me," the Chinese winner said. "This time [result] was expected because I got these results in training, but I didn't expect this gold medal. I'm very excited and surprised by it."

Li’s was China’s 27th gold as the country topped the Para athletics medal table at Tokyo 2020. 

Complete results and medallists from Tokyo 2020 can be found on