Dutch sprinter Marlou van Rhijn notched up her second consecutive Paralympic 200m T44 title on Thursday (15 September) with a resounding win at Rio’s Olympic stadium.
The 24-year-old world champion and world record holder sped past Germany’s Irmgard Bensusan and French 400m T44 champion Marie-Amelie le Fur as she came off the bend, crossing the line with a new T43 Paralympic record of 26.16.
“It feels amazing. After winning gold in London I worked for four years to retain the title and to get another Paralympic gold and that it just happened, it worked out, is such an amazing feeling,” said van Rhijn.
Bensusan (26.90) and le Fur (27.11) held on for silver and bronze respectively.
Australia’s Scott Reardon (12.26) won his first Paralympic title as he took the tape in a thrilling men’s 100m T42.
“it is very special to stand on the start line and know you have done everything you can to be a champion,” Reardon said. “Growing up I was a kid with big aspirations of being an Olympian or representing my country. I thought that was all taken away from me in 2002 when I lost my leg when I was 12.
“The goal from day one was to be Paralympic champion. People fail to understand that this is a long process, seven, 10, 15 years in the making.”
Three years ago at the World Championships in Lyon, France, Reardon tied for gold with Germany’s Heinrich Popow – this time it was the turn of Great Britain’s Richard Whitehead (12.32) and Denmark’s Daniel Wagner (12.32) who could not be split in the battle for second place: both were awarded silver.
Namibia’s world silver medallist Ananias Shikongo (22.44) won a spectacular men’s 200m T11 final as he turned the tables on Brazil’s world gold medallist and defending Paralympic champion Felipe Gomes.
The 30-year-old had to come from behind after a strong start by Gomes, and at the half-way mark the pair were neck and neck. But Shikongo gave it everything as he raced to the line, dipping over with a new Paralympic record.
Gomes (22.52) finished just behind while bronze went to his Brazilian teammate Daniel Silva (23.04).
Cuba’s Leinier Savon Pineda (10.97) got off to a terrific start in the men’s 100m T12 final, and he held his form well to take gold ahead of South Africa’s Ndodomzi Ntutu (11.09) and Germany’s Thomas Ulbricht (11.39), silver and bronze medallists respectively.
“Everything that has happened in this time, all the sacrifices I made, all the time that I’ve spent in training. This gave meaning to today’s victory.”
Team USA completed their second clean sweep out on the track as Tatyana McFadden led the way home in a tactically run women’s 5,000m T54.
McFadden, who had already won two individual golds and a silver at Rio 2016, let the rest of the field do much of the work as she timed her finish to perfection, holding off the chasing pack as she crossed the line in 11:54.07.
Chelsea McClammer (11:54.33) and Amanda McGrory (11:54.34) finished in second and third place, reversing their order from Tuesday’s (13 September) 1,500m T54 final.
China came out on top in the women’s 4x100m T35-38 as the quartet of Fenfen Jiang, Junfei Chen, Yingli Li and Xiaoyan Wen also broke the world record, taking 0.82 off the previous mark set by Great Britain as they finished in 50.81. Great Britain won silver (51.07) and Australia took bronze (55.09).
Thailand’s Pongsakorn Paeyo added the 800m T53 title to his gold over 400m as he powered through in the closing stages of the race to take the win in 1:40.78. Frenchman Pierre Fairbank (1:40.970 lost out on the line to take second as Canada’s Brent Lakatos (1:41.09) took third – completing a full set of medals after winning 100m T53 gold and 400m T53 silver.
World records fell out in the field as Tunisia’s Raoua Tlili added the discus F41 title to the shot put gold she won on Friday (9 September).
The 26-year-old, who finished runner-up in the discus at Beijing 2008 and again at London 2012, won in emphatic style this time around as she added 1.54m on to her previous best in the opening round before going on to seal the win with 33.38m.
Ireland’s Niamh McCarthy (26.67m) won silver and Tunisia’s Fathia Amaimia (26.16m) took bronze – reversing their positions from last year’s World Championships.
There was a world record too for China’s Jun Wang, who threw a best of 13.91m to take the win in the women’s shot put F35 ahead of London 2012 champion and former world record holder Mariia Pomazan of Ukraine.
Wang added a massive 86 centimetres on to Pomazan’s previous best while the Ukrainian finished second with a European record of 13.59m. There was an Americas record for Brazil’s bronze medallist Marivana Oliveira (9.28m).
China’s reigning world champion Jianwen Hu won his second gold of the Games, adding the long jump T38 title to the 100m gold he won on Tuesday (13 September).
The 29-year-old set a new Paralympic record in the opening round, leaping 6.64m which proved enough to take the gold ahead of his teammate Huanghao Zhong (6.59m) and South African Dyan Buis.
“I am very happy. I will be proud of my country. This is my first Paralympics, I’ve been training in this sport for 10 years. I love sport.”
Colombia’s Mauricio Valencia (36.65m) set a new Games record to win the men’s javelin F34, finishing over two metres ahead of silver medallist Yanzhang Wang (34.25m) of China while bronze went to Iran’s Mohsen Kaedi (33.42m).