Self-proclaimed throwing queen Tunisia’s Raoua Tlili retained her Paralympic Games discus F41 crown in stunning fashion on Wednesday (1 September) morning at the National Olympic Stadium.
The 31-year-old snatched victory with a world-record final throw of 37.91m - more than 2.5m beyond the previous benchmark - to top the podium in discus throw at Tokyo 2020 just as she did in Rio five years ago.
“All Tunisians gave me confidence [by] writing [to] me on Facebook and Instagram, ‘Go Raoua, we expect your gold medals’,” said TLILI, who on Friday had retained the shot put title she has held since London 2012.
In a tight battle with silver medallist and previous world-record holder Youssra Karim, the Moroccan eclipsed her 35.33m mark with her third throw, before Tlili struck gold at the death.
“She has changed the rhythm of the event; she is a friend, not an opponent," the Tunisian said of Karim.
Morocco also took bronze with Hayat El Garaa.
Earlier, Andrei Vdonin of RPC lowered his 400m T37 world record by more than a second (49.34) to clinch gold despite his apparent dislike of the event.
"I really don't like this distance, not at all, I loathe it,” Vdonin said. “But when something like this [points to medal] happens, it no longer matters.”
Silver went to USA’s Nick Mayhugh and bronze also to RPC with Chermen Kobesov.
Towering former basketball and volleyball player Greg Stewart marked his Paralympic debut with the men’s shot put F46 gold and a Paralympic record (16.75m).
"The biggest thing I have learned over the last few years is I love people. I love the chemistry and the camaraderie," Stewart, who stands at 2.18m tall, said.
“But if I’m going to do something I have got to do it on my own. This is a prime example of that."
RPC bagged the silver (Nikita Prokhorov) and USA the bronze (Joshua Cinnamo).
Afrooz's golden debut
Iran’s Saied Afrooz beat world champion Mauricio Valencia of Colombia to claim gold in the men’s javelin F34 with a new world record (40.05).
“At these Paralympic Games there were the best athletes, including the world and Paralympic record holder. It was the highest level of competition for me as a Para athlete and it’s very important that I’ve earned it. It’s a beautiful dream today,” Afrooz said.
Valencia settled for silver with another Colombian, Diego Meneses Medina, in third.
There was another gold medal in the morning session as China’s Dening Zhu set a new mark for the men’s long jump T38 (7.31m) improving in 18 centimetres his previous record.
It was a Chinese one-two podium as Huanghao Zhan took silver. Colombia clinched one more medal through Jose Gregorio Rivas’ bronze.
For full athletics schedule, results and medallists click here.