Paralympic Games
7-18 September

Stars live up to billing on biggest stage of all

Rahman produces a record lift as Rio Paralympics go from strength to strength with more than two million tickets now sold. 14 Sep 2016
Siamand Rahman of Iran celebrates his victory on the Powerlifting - Men's +107kg Group A at Riocentro Pavillon 2

Siamand Rahman of Iran celebrates his victory on the Powerlifting - Men's +107kg Group A at Riocentro Pavillon 2

ⒸGetty Images for the IPC

The world’s strongest Paralympian re-wrote the history books on Wednesday (September 14) as he cleared the bar at 310kg on a dramatic final day of powerlifting competition at Rio 2016.

An expectant and vocal crowd had gathered at Riocentro Pavilion 2 to see if Iran’s Siamand Rahman could become the first man to ever break the 300kg barrier – and the 28-year-old did not disappoint them.

The performance was just the latest history-making moment of the 2016 Paralympic Games which is living up to its billing as the greatest ever in terms of athletic performance.

On a day when it was confirmed that ticket sales for the Games have now exceeded two million, there were stand-out performances across Rio’s sporting venues.

Among the star performers was teenage Italian wheelchair fencer Bebe Vio who lived up to her pre-tournament billing by clinching gold on her Paralympic debut.

Victory never looked in doubt for the 19-year-old despite her opponent’s weapon entering her mask at one stage, meaning she required medical treatment.

Afterwards Vio said she was “too happy” to feel any pain. “The crowd were so great, it was like I was in Italy,” she said. “It was like everybody was inside my mask with me, it was amazing.”

It was also a good day for Italy out on the road as the cycling competition resumed. Italy secured three gold medals courtesy of Alessandro Zanardi in the men’s time trial H5, Vittorio Pedesta in the men’s time trial H3, and Lucca Mazzone in the men’s time trial H2.

Great Britain were also celebrating three cycling golds, including for Dame Sarah Storey who cemented her status as the country’s most successful female Paralympian with victory in the C5 time trial, following up her earlier success in the velodrome. Also taking her track form out on to the road was US army veteran Shawn Morelli who continued to shine on her Paralympic debut as she won her second gold of the Games, this time in the C4 time trial.

Karen Darke added a second gold medal for Britain in the H1-2-3 time trial, the hand-cyclist’s first Paralympic gold. And tandem duo Steve Bate and pilot Adam Duggleby then won their second gold of the Games with victory in the B time trial.

Meanwhile, another of Great Britain’s velodrome stars, Kadeena Cox, was showing her skill in a different arena entirely as she took gold in the women’s 400m T38 at the Olympic Stadium.

Her success came just four days after winning gold in the women’s track cycling C 4-5 500m time trial. “I’m so happy and so glad that I’ve done it for everyone, everyone that has struggled with chronic conditions, to let them know that it’s not the end and they can achieve things,” she said.

Cox’s story was just one of many highlights on an eventful day of athletics action. There was a surprise in the men’s 800m T34 where Mohamed Alhammadi, of the United Arab Emirates, upset reigning champion Walid Ktila. And there was a new world record in the women’s 400m T34 where Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft lowering the world record she set last year to 58.78.

World records were also lowered in the women’s discus throw F52 by the USA’s Rachael Morrison, in the women’s shot put F34 by China’s Lijuan Zou, and by China in the women’s 4x100m relay T11-13.

At the Aquatic Centre, Ukraine’s Paralympic debutant Anna Stetsenko tore down a 10-year-old world record in the women’s 50m freestyle S13 as she powered to the wall in 27.34 seconds, beating the mark of Germany’s Yvonne Hopf set at Atlanta 1996 by 0.04 seconds.

It was a profitable night in the pool for Spain who clinched three gold medals courtesy of Michelle Alonso Morales in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB14, Oscar Salguero Galisteo in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB8, and in the men’s 100m butterfly S11 courtesy of Worlds bronze medallist Israel Oliver.

And Hannah Russell (1:06.06) headlined another fantastic night in the pool for Great Britain, with gold and a new world record in the women’s 100m backstroke S12. Ukraine, who continue to fly high in the overall medal table, won the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

On the final day of the shooting competition at Deodoro, two new double Paralympic champions were crowned. Both women - China’s Cuiping Zhang and Iran’s Sareh Javanmardidodmani - claimed their second gold medals of the Games with victories in mixed competitions.

At the Olympic tennis centre Australia’s Dylan Alcott claimed his second gold medal in 24 hours and Great Britain created history on a busy day of wheelchair tennis action.

Alcott – a former gold medal winner in wheelchair basketball - backed up his gold in the quad doubles on Tuesday night with another victory, this time in the quad singles. Meanwhile, the men’s singles gold medal match will be an all-British final for the first time in Paralympic history, as Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett secured their spots in the final.

There was another piece of Paralympic history made as canoeing made its debut at the Games with competition getting underway at the Lagoa Stadium. Medals will be handed out on Thursday morning when the finals take place in the KL1, KL2 and KL3 categories.

With four days of competition to go, the team-sport competitions are now beginning to enter their closing and decisive stages.

The goalball competition reached the quarter-finals stage and it was double-delight for Brazil as the hosts’ men’s and women’s team booked their places in the last four – both scoring 10 goals in the process. Brazil’s women beat Ukraine without reply, whilst the men eased to a 10-3 victory over China.

The other semi-finalists in the men’s competition are the USA who beat Germany, Lithuania who edged out Canada 5-4, and Sweden who eased to a 5-1 victory over Turkey. Completing the women’s goalball semi-final line-up will be China who beat Japan, Turkey who thrashed Israel 15-5, and the USA, who beat rivals Canada.

Hosts Brazil won’t be in the shake-up for gold in the football 7-a-side competition, however, after they suffered a thumping 5-0 victory at the hands of Iran. The Iranians will face Ukraine in the final after they eased to a 4-0 victory over the Netherlands in their semi-final.

It may have only been the opening round of fixtures in the wheelchair rugby competition, but you would not have known it judging by the atmosphere in Carioca 1.

The arena was a cauldron of noise as the locals cheered on underdogs Brazil in a brave performance, but their support wasn’t enough in the end as Canada eventually ran out 62-48 winners. Elsewhere, competition heavyweights Australia, USA and Japan got their campaigns off to the perfect start with victories.