Cuban sprinter Omara Durand proved unbeatable once again as she clinched her third gold of Rio 2016 in world-record time – one of seven world records to tumble on the final day (Saturday 17 September) of track and field competition.
Durand won the 400m T12 to add to her 100m and 200m titles and it was also her third world record of the Games, having already smashed her own 100m best as well as lowering her record over one lap in the heats at the Olympic stadium.
The 24-year-old is the fastest female Paralympian in the world and she showed just why as she tore round the track in 51.77, knocking over a second off the mark she set in qualifying two days earlier.
“I’m really satisfied and super happy, it’s very emotional. I’m getting a great time and another gold medal,” said Durand.
“This triumph is for Cuba, for all the Para athletes in the world, for my guide (Yuniol Kindelan), who also is a great reason for this medal, for my family, for my mum, my husband and my daughter. They have all been a part of this.”
Ukraine’s Oksana Boturchuk (53.14) picked up her third silver of the Games, while bronze went to Mozambique’s Edmilsa Governo (53.89) – her country’s first medal at Rio 2016.
Dutch ‘Blade Babe’ Marlou van Rhijn – the world’s fastest female leg amputee – secured her Rio 2016 sprint double with a nail-biting win in the women’s 100m T44.
The 24-year-old double world champion stormed through on the line to set a new T43 Paralympic record of 13.02, finishing just 0.02 seconds ahead of Germany’s T44 sprinter Irmgard Bensusan (13.04) with Trinidad and Tobago’s Nyoshia Cain (13.10) claiming bronze.
“I really wanted this and to retain the title and get two golds was everything I hoped for, although it was so scary,” admitted van Rhijn.
Australian James Turner (2:02.39) obliterated the 800m T36 world record as he stormed to his first Paralympic title, knocking 2.66 seconds off the previous best.
The 20-year-old shot off at the gun and quickly established a significant lead which proved too much for his rivals to make up as he fought hard to maintain his form all the way to the line. Great Britain’s Paul Blake (2:09.65) and New Zealander William Stedman (2:11.98) won silver and bronze respectively.
“It’s absolutely amazing, I put everything I had into it. I just ran as fast as I could. It’s a lot of work to get to run that fast and, as you’ve seen, it’s taken everything out of me," said Turner.
China’s Jin Zheng clocked a new world record as she took the win in the women’s 1,500m T11. The 25-year-old reigning world champion took to the front after the first lap and maintained her form well as she crossed the line in 4:38.92, knocking over five seconds off her previous world best.
Silver went to Kenya’s Nancy Koech (4:42.12) and bronze was won by Colombia’s Maritza Arango Buitrago (4:45.33).
Next up it was the women’s 800m T53 final and China further cemented their place at the top of the medals table as Hongzhuan Zhou took to the front with one lap remaining before powering home in a world record time of 1:47.45.
Australia’s world champion Madison de Rozario (1:47.64) sprinted through the field to take the silver and bronze went to the USA’s Shirley Reilly (1:47.77).
China also took gold in the men’s 4x400m T53/54 as the quartet of Yanfeng Cui, Yang Liu, Huzhao Li and Chengming Liu clocked 3:04.58, having set a world record earlier the day. Silver went to Thailand (3:07.73) and bronze to Canada (3:08.00).
The USA’s Tatyana McFadden (1:44.73) already has a phenomenal three gold medals to her name at Rio 2016, and she made it four with a win in the women’s 800m T54.
The 27-year-old left nothing to chance as she took the race on from the gun, chased hard by Chinese duo Wenjun Liu (1:45.02) and Yingjie Li (1:45.23), who had to settle for silver and bronze respectively as McFadden clocked a new Paralympic record in first place – with the marathon still to come on Sunday (18 September).
Finland’s Leo-Pekka Tahti (13.90) remains the man to beat in the 100m T54 after he clinched an incredible fourth consecutive Paralympic title. The 33-year-old was quickly out the blocks and in to an early lead as China’s Yang Liu (14.10) and Dutchman Kenny van Weeghel (14.23) followed home for silver and bronze.
“I didn’t expect to win a gold here because I had so many problems in the summer. But it is amazing to win four in a row. I can’t find the words,” said Tahti, who had elbow surgery in June and lost five weeks’ training.
“The last world championships I got the silver medal in the 100m and that gave me an extra boost for this season. I want to be the fastest wheelchair athlete in the world and now I prove it again. This is very special.”
There was double delight for Cuba’s Leinier Savon Pineda (22.23) who blazed round the bend in the men’s 200m T12 to pick up his second gold at Rio 2016, having won the 100m T12 on Thursday (15 September). Silver went to South Africa’s Hilton Langenhoven (22.43) and Morocco’s Mahdi Afri (22.57) won bronze.
Italy’s defending champion Martina Caironi left nothing on the track as she stormed home to win the women’s 100m T42, glancing to her side as Germany’s Vanessa Low chased hard behind. Caironi made it to the line first, however, clocking 14.97 with Low (15.17) in second place and fellow Italian Monica Contrafatto in third (16.30).
There was a thrilling finish to the men’s 400m T47 as home favourite Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos came from last place – by a clear margin - at the 300m mark through to second place on the line.
Despite his terrific sprint finish the 100m T47 champion wasn’t quite able to catch Cuba’s Ernesto Blanco who won gold in 48.79, and Austria’s Gunther Matzinger (48.95) took bronze.
Silver also went Brazil’s way in the men’s 400m T11 as Spain’s world silver medallist Gerard Descarrega Puigdevall (50.22) stormed past Felipe Gomes (50.38) down the home straight to clinch his first Paralympic title. Namibia’s 200m champion Ananias Shikongo (50.63) won bronze.
South Africa secured their fifth Para athletics gold of Rio 2016 as Dyan Buis (49.46), winner of two silvers and a bronze at London 2012, clinched his first Paralympic title in the men’s 400m T38.
The 25-year-old never really looked under threat as he held off China’s 100m T38 champion Jianwen Hu (50.27) and Colombia’s Weiner Diaz Mosquera (51.44).
China’s success continued out in the field as Na Mi (37.60m) won her third consecutive Paralympic discus title with a world record throw in the F38 event.
The 30-year-old, who has also won a hat trick of world discus titles, added a remarkable 2.25m on to her previous world best set at London 2012.
“I was very nervous but also excited. When I was in training before the Games I felt really good and I felt that I had already reached my best.
“It is reasonable for me to be nervous. Although I also got the gold medal in London (2012) I knew my rivals had improved over the last four years," said Mi.
Brazil’s javelin F37 champion Shirlene Coelho (33.91m) won silver and Irish teenager Noelle Lenihan (31.71m) threw an F38 Paralympic record for bronze.
There was a world record too for Uzbekistan’s Nozimakhon Kayumova in the women’s javelin F13. The 24-year-old added 76 centimetres on to the previous record which had stood for over 16 years with her second round effort of 44.58m. Silver went to Azerbaijan’s Irada Aliyeva (42.58m) and bronze to Natalija Eder (40.49m).
Germany’s reigning Paralympic, world and European champion Markus Rehm proved invincible yet again as he leapt a Games record 8.21m in the final round of the men’s long jump T44 to take gold ahead of the Netherlands’ Ronald Hertog (7.29m) and fellow German Felix Streng (7.13m).
Tunisia’s Maroua Brahmi clinched her second gold of the Games with a win in the shot put F32. The 27-year-old, was also won club throw F32 gold, threw 5.76m as she finished more than one metre clear of the field. The UAE’s Noura Alktebi (4.70m) and Australia’s Louise Ellery (4.19m) completed the podium.