"I heard the crowd and they gave me the motivation to run faster and to win the race.”
Kenya’s visually-impaired Para athlete Samwel Kimani and Thailand’s wheelchair racer Prawat Wahoram both completed the distance double on Tuesday (13 September), adding 1,500m gold to the 5,000m titles they have already won at Rio 2016.
Expectations in Rio were high for local star and multiple world champion Odair Santos in the men’s 1,500m T11. But it was 26-year-old Kimani who proved to have the superior sprint finish, striding past the Brazilian in the final 50m to take his second gold of Rio 2016.
“I feel so good for this, for winning the race,” said Kimani, who crossed the line in 4:03.25. “That was my target to win that race and I am grateful. I heard the crowd and they gave me the motivation to run faster and to win the race.”
Referring to his guide James Boit, who he has trained with for the last seven years, he said: “We live together as brothers. My best friend and my brother also.”
Santos clocked a season’s best 4:03.85 as he claimed his second silver of Rio 2016; Turkey’s Semih Deniz (4:05.42) won bronze.
Wahoram (3:00.62) won a highly-competitive men’s 1,500m T54, improving on the silver medal he won four years ago as he crossed the line just 0.03 seconds ahead of Swiss Marcel Hug (3:00.65), who had to settle for second place once again.
It was the Swiss who, like Santos, was still chasing his first Paralympic title at his fourth Games, who set the early pace, before Japan’s Masayuki Higuchi took his turn leading the pack.
Wahoram was always thereabouts however, and the 35-year-old positioned himself well as he took to the front with 250m to go.
The Thai came off the final bend in the lead as Hug pushed hard to catch up, and he was gaining ground fast. But the finish line came just in time for Wahoram as his teammate Saichon Konjen (3:00.86) came through for bronze.
Great Britain’s Libby Clegg also won her second gold of Rio 2016 as she added the 200m T11 title to her 100m gold from Friday (9 September).
Clegg clocked a Paralympic record 24.51 as she beat Chinese world champion Cuiqing Liu (24.85) to the line, with Liu’s compatriot Guohua Zhou (24.99) taking bronze. Brazil’s London 2012 champion Terezinha Guilhermina was disqualified – for the second time at Rio 2016 – this time after a false start.
There was a clean sweep for the USA in the women’s 1,500m T54 as Rio 2016 400m champion Tatyana McFadden (3:22.50) was made to work hard for her second gold of the Games.
The 27-year-old was quickly off at the gun, setting the early pace as the chasing pack made sure they stayed in touch.
With 400m to go McFadden accelerated again but her teammates and training partners Amanda McGrory (3:22.61) and Chelsea McClammer (3:22.67) kept in touch – although they were unable to get the better of the London 2012 champion in the race to the line, winning silver and bronze respectively.
“The race felt really good today. The beginning was a little shaky. I had to make a last-minute decision to lead the whole race,” explained McFadden, who set a new Paralympic record as she won her third medal of Rio 2016 with four events still to come.
“I knew they were behind me so it’s amazing to have an American sweep today. Amanda was right behind me and Chelsea was right behind her.”
The USA’s Breanna Clark (57.79) had earlier secured the USA’s first gold of the evening, winning the 400m T20 with a new Americas record.
The 21-year-old went out hard and rounded the final bend in first place, but the rest of the field were rapidly closing in on her as the finish line approached.
Clark’s fast early pace was clearly taking its toll but she held on to take the gold as three other athletes battled it out for silver and bronze behind her.
Ukraine’s world silver medallist Natalia Iezlovetska (58.48) finished in second place while reigning world champion Barbara Niewiedzial (58.51) of Poland just managed to clinch bronze as she crashed to the floor at the line.
World records continued to tumble in the field as India’s Devendra obliterated the field in the men’s javelin F46, reclaiming the title he last won in 2004.
The 35-year-old threw 63.97m in the third round to add 1.82m on to the record he set in Athens, Greece, 12 years ago.
“This is the best performance of my life. I break the world record and I win the gold medal. I am so happy for India,” said Devendra.
“In 2004 I win gold medal with world record and, in 2016, I win gold medal and new world record. I am very good. I am only single person in India Paralympics who has gold medal and world record.”
China’s world champion Chunliang Guo took silver with his fifth round effort of 59.93m and Sri Lankan D P Herath Mudiyanselage (58.23m) clinched bronze.
Germany’s world silver medallist Franziska Liebhardt also set a new world record as she saw off China’s multiple Paralympic and world champion Na Mi to win the shot put F37.
Liebhardt’s opening throw of 13.96m added 14 centimetres on to the mark she set in May this year – it proved to be her best of the night and no match for the rest of the field. Mi set a new Asian record of 13.73m for silver and Czech Eva Berna (11.23m) completed the podium.
Nigeria’s Flora Ugwunwa also got the better of a stellar field as she added 1.39m to Tunisian Hania Aidi’s world record with a spectacular first round throw in the women’s javelin F54.
Ugwunwa, 32, managed 20.25m as reigning world champion Aidi (18.88m) added two centimetres to her previous best for silver and South Africa’s Ntombizanele Situ threw 17.90m for bronze.
Ukrainian Oksana Zubkovska continued her domination of the women’s long jump T12, adding Rio 2016 gold to the titles she won at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
The 35-year-old, who is also a two-time world champion, leapt 6.11m in the final round to finish over 50cm clear of her nearest rivals. Azerbaijan’s Elena Chebanu (5.56m) won silver and Algeria’s Lynda Hamri (5.53m) won bronze.
“I didn’t want to break the tradition of getting a gold medal so I really feel very good,” said Zubkovska. “I will try hard to be in Tokyo but of course the age plays some role so I’ll do my best.”