Stellar performances in the swimming pool stole the headlines on Monday ¬– the fifth day of Paralympic competition at Rio 2016.
On an emotional and noisy night at the Aquatics Centre there were outstanding displays from a number of Paralympians including Brazilian Daniel Dias who raised the roof with his gold-medal display in the men’s 50m freestyle S5.
It was also an outstanding night in the pool for the top two nations in the Paralympic medal table as China notched up four swimming golds and Great Britain three.
China now have 118 medals in total after five days of competition – including 50 golds.
Britain’s Paralympic swimming champions included Sascha Kindred, who set a new world-record time in the men’s 200m individual medley SM6, and Eleanor Simmonds who also set a new world-best in a masterful display in the women’s 200m individual medley SM6.
It wasn’t all about the winners, though. In the men’s 100m freestyle S9, Ibrahim Al-Hussein made history as the first Independent Paralympic Athlete to compete in the pool and recorded a personal best of 1:20.98, but missed out on qualifying.
At the Olympic Stadium there was drama in the 4x100m T42-47 relay as Germany picked-up Paralympic gold after the USA team were disqualified – just as they were at London in 2012.
Poland’s Maciej Lepiato set a new world record in the men’s high jump T44 and French star Marie-Amelie le Fur clinched her second Paralympic title in four days as she won the 400m T44 with yet another world record.
World records also fell in the men’s javelin F57 where Iran’s Mohammad Khalvandi set a new best of 46.12m and New Zealander Liam Malone (T43) smashed the Paralympic record set by Brazil’s Alan Oliveira at London 2012 as he won a thrilling men’s 200m T44.
Cuba’s triple world champion Omara Durand, the fastest female Paralympian in the world, clinched her second Paralympic sprint title at Rio 2016 as she stormed home to win the 200m T12. There was also a second gold for Ukraine’s Ihor Tsvietov, who added the 200m T35 title to the 100m crown he won three days earlier.
Dutch wheelchair racer Kenny van Weeghel (46.65) reclaimed the title he won back in 2004 as he took gold in the men’s 400m T54. And there was an incredibly close finish to the men’s long jump T36 as just one centimetre separated all three medallists, with Australian teenager Brayden Davidson eventually coming out on top.
As expected, Great Britain’s Aled Davies turned his London 2012 shot put F42 bronze into gold at Rio 2016. And the women’s shot put F53 was won by Bahrain’s Fatema Nedham – making her the country’s first-ever female Paralympic champion.
China’s medal haul was helped by another three golds secured in the table tennis competition where there was also a victory for Great Britain’s Will Bayley who turned the tables on his Brazilian nemesis Israel Stroh to win the men’s singles class 7 title.
Serbia’s Laslo Suranji celebrated a hard-fought victory to win gold in R7 (men’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1) after Swedish Paralympic legend Jonas Jacobsson – who was targeting a fifth successive gold in the 50-metre competition – failed to qualify for the final.
Nigeria tightened its grip on the overall medal tally in the powerlifting competition at the Riocentro Pavilion 2, securing two of the three gold medals on offer including a shock win for Ndidi Nwosu who upstaged the favourite, Souhad Ghazouani, of France.
It was Ukraine’s day as the wheelchair fencing competition got underway, with gold medals for Anton Datsko and Andrii Demchuk.
And, after winning the Paralympic title in the mixed team recurve open event, China claimed its second archery gold in the compound open mixed team event.
Late on Monday the line-up for the men’s quad singles gold medal match in wheelchair tennis was finally decided. Australia’s Dylan Alcott, who eased to a 6-0, 6-3 win over Lucas Sithole, will face Great Britain’s Andy Lapthorne after he battled past 2012 silver David Wagner in a gripping late-night showdown 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Great Britain took control of the team competition at the Para dressage, with London 2012 double gold medallist Sophie Christiansen winning the grade Ia team test with a score of 77.522% - the highest of the competition so far.
Slovakia sealed the first boccia Paralympic gold after defeating Brazil 4-2 in the mixed pairs BC4 gold-medal game. The Rio 2016 hosts responded by claiming gold with victory over South Korea in the mixed pairs BC3. The last gold medal of the day was won by Thailand who beat Japan in the mixed team BC1-2.
The hottest day of the Paralympics so far provided the perfect conditions for the opening day of the sailing competition, with the glorious unbroken sunshine accompanied by a 10-knot wind.
After the first day the leader board was dominated by many of the pre-Games favourites, including Great Britain’s Helen Lucas, the defending Paralympic champion in the 2.4 Norlin OD class.
The wheelchair basketball group action continued with victories in the men’s competition for the USA – who remain unbeaten after defeating Great Britain – Australia, Iran, Spain, Turkey and Germany, who saw off Brazil in the late match. In the women’s contest, Germany, USA, the Netherlands and Canada also secured wins.
In football 7-a-side, there were victories for Argentina (3-2 vs USA), Great Britain (5-1 vs Ireland), Iran (2-0 vs the Netherlands) and Ukraine who beat hosts Brazil 2-1.
In the women’s goalball the winners were Brazil, Japan, China and Turkey, whilst in the men’s competition there were victories for Sweden, Algeria, Lithuania and Turkey. There were wins in the women’s sitting volleyball for Iran and China and in the men’s contest for Ukraine.