Tokyo 2020 Paralympics briefing: an Italy sweep and Brazil football gold

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<span>Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Today in a nutshell: an Italian clean sweep closes out the day’s athletics action, Brazil take five-a-side football gold (again), there’s a dominant British paracanoe display but a tough potential end to Alfie Hewett’s Paralympic career in wheelchair tennis.

Sunday’s key moments: there are still some finals left in badminton, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and shooting, and the marathons are the last thing in the Japan National Stadium before the closing ceremony at 8pm Tokyo time, and Sayōnara Nihon.

“Even if my hand’s fallen off I was going to be on that start line,” said Britain’s Hannah Cockroft after she broke her own Paralympic record to win a seventh career gold with victory in the T34 800m. Before competing she’d managed to get her hand stuck through her moving wheelchair wheel, leaving her with a bloody and battered hand. “To come here with a gammy hand, I’m happy. My hand went straight round but luckily a coach was stood with me. It’s pretty bloody but it’s fine.”

Charlotte Henshaw had switched to paracanoe after previously winning bronze and silver medals as a swimmer at London and Rio, and it paid dividends as she won her first gold medal in the women’s kayak single 200m KL2. She beat British compatriot and favourite Emma Wiggs into second place. Afterwards, Henshaw said: “It’s amazing. I feel a real sense of gratitude I got the opportunity that I was able to race for this medal. I think the first and biggest thanks needs to go to Japan for putting on an incredible Games in such difficult circumstances, and allowing us to showcase our hard work from over the last five years.”

Emma Wiggs (R) and Charlotte Henshaw react after after competing in the final.
Emma Wiggs (right) and Charlotte Henshaw react after after competing in the final. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Laura Sugar won gold in the women’s kayak single KL3 200m, and there was a bronze for Stuart Wood in the men’s Va’a single VL3 200m in a very successful morning at the Sea Forest Waterway for the British team. Germany’s Edina Müller won the KL1 class of the women’s kayak single 200m and there was also a gold for Brazil’s Fernando Rufino de Paulo.

Britain&#x002019;s Laura Sugar celebrates.
Britain’s Laura Sugar celebrates. Photograph: Shuji Kajiyama/AP

The Netherlands have won every women’s doubles gold medal in wheelchair tennis since it was first introduced in 1992, and Britain’s Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley could do nothing about that record as Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot powered to a 6-0 6-1 win. The Dutch pair went into the match ranked No 1 in the world, and van Koot was defending the title that she won in 2016 in the Rio Paralympics with Jiske Griffioen, who retired in 2017.

29-year-old Whiley has said she expects it to be her last Paralympics, and she leaves Tokyo with a bronze from the singles contest on top of the silver she won with Shuker. 41-year-old Shuker has gone one medal better in the doubles than the bronzes she won in London and Rio.

Diede De Groot of the Netherlands and Aniek Van Koot of the Netherlands in action in the final.
Diede De Groot of the Netherlands and Aniek Van Koot of the Netherlands in action in the final. Photograph: Iván Alvarado/Reuters

The last race of today’s athletics session was the T63 women’s 100m final and it was a clean sweep for Italy, who are having quite the summer of sporting success – and they won the Eurovision Song Contest, too. Ambra Sabatini led home Martina Caironi and Monica Graziana Contrafatto in a world record time.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons has praised the Tokyo organisers and athletes, saying “They had to use a lot of creativity. But the resilience was incredible. And to see in the 22 sports here how they performed, world records broken, the best performances ever, it’s amazing. I’m really, really proud of them and really, really happy. I think we sent a very important message to the world that persons with disabilities are out there, 1.2bn people cannot be ignored.”

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The briefing’s picture of the day

Until today Brazil were the only team to have ever won a gold medal in the five-a-side football at the Paralympics. And they still are. A 1-0 victory over Argentina was a rematch of the first ever Paralympic final in 2004, and an absolutely cracking finish from Raimundo Mendes was the difference between the sides. It was his sixth goal in a tournament during which Brazil didn’t concede even once.

Tiago da Silva of Brazil in action with Angel Deldo Garcia of Argentina in the football five-a-side final.
Tiago da Silva of Brazil in action with Angel Deldo Garcia of Argentina in the five-a-side football final. Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters

You can see the best pictures of today’s action in our day eleven gallery.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Team USA update

Darlene Hunter and Rose Hollermann celebrate the medal late on in the game against Germany.
Darlene Hunter and Rose Hollermann celebrate late in the game against Germany. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

It was a bronze in the end for the USA women’s basketball team. They beat Germany 51-64. The US team controlled most of the match, withstanding a few streaks by the Germans to stay ahead. The gold medal went to the Netherlands with a 50-31 win over China. 30-year-old Steven Haxton scored the first US medal in the paracanoe at this year’s Games with a silver in the man’s Va’a VL2 class.

Track and field success for Team USA came today in the shape of medals for Nick Mayhugh (gold, men’s T37 200m), Brittni Mason (silver, women’s T47 200m), Jarryd Wallace (bronze, men’s T64 200m), Alexa Halko (bronze, women’s T38 800m), Isaac Jean-Paul (bronze, long jump T13) and Kym Crosby (bronze, women’s T13 400m),

Nick Mayhugh set a new world record in the men&#x002019;s T37 200m.
Nick Mayhugh set a new world record in the men’s T37 200m. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 ParalympicsGB update

British sprinter Jonnie Peacock has been on the radio in the UK today, asking for better pay for para-athletes. He told the BBC:

There was a situation in the past where I had to be very strong and fight for people to get a £500 appearance fee at a Diamond League race where people were being put on posters in the exact same light as people like Dina Asher-Smith, who will be getting paid tens of thousands of pounds. Meet organisers are putting these people side by side and going: ‘Aren’t we great for equality having a race on? But you should be grateful that you have a race, so don’t you dare come and ask for prize money.’ I would love to see equal pay in this country. That would be the next step after getting the events in. We have Lottery funding but British sport needs to recognise the value that Paralympic and disabled athletes bring.”

Kare Adenegan was second behind Hannah Cockroft in that T34 800m race. “I did what I expected and wanted here and to get two season’s bests when it matters shows that all the hard work to peak on time paid off,” said the 20-year-old. “It’s been a really tough couple of years for all of us, so I’m really pleased with how I performed. Hannah sets a great standard but I’m always trying to improve on what I’ve done. I improved on Rio, so hopefully Paris will be an improvement on what I did this time.”

In the archery, the British pair of David Phillips and Hazel Chaisty reached the quarter-finals of the mixed team recurve, but were comprehensively beaten 6-0 by Zahra Nemati and Gholamreza Rahimi of Iran. The gold medal eventually went to the athletes from Not Russia.

Kadeena Cox finished a frustrating fourth in her bid to defend her T38 400m title and add a track gold to her cycling efforts. The race was won by Germany’s Lindy Ave in a world-record time. There was a British gold in the field however, as Aled Davies won his F63 men’s shot put final.

Kadeena Cox runs in the rain at Tokyo National Stadium.
Kadeena Cox runs in the rain at Tokyo National Stadium. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Daniel Bethell earned silver and Britain’s first ever Paralympic badminton medal after losing his gold medal match 2-0 to India’s Pramod Bhagat. The sport is being played at a Paralympics for the first time. It was a repeat of the 2019 world championship final in which 25-year-old Bethell also ended up with silver. Britain’s Krysten Coombs lost his semi-final in the men’s singles SH6 competition, and will now play Vitor Gonçales Tavares of Brazil for the bronze medal on Sunday.

It was a match neither of them wanted as men’s doubles partners Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid faced each other for third place in the men’s singles. Reid prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to win, saying “We knew that we just had to come out and be respectful of each other, and try to give the best that we could on the day. It was the last thing that either of us wanted to do. It’s just the most horrible match that either of us will ever have to endure.”

Gordon Reid (right) and Alfie Hewett shake hands at the net after the match.
Gordon Reid (right) and Alfie Hewett shake hands at the net after the match. Photograph: Iván Alvarado/Reuters

The two now head off to the US Open to play as partners again – a partnership due to be broken up as the International Tennis Federation have ruled that the Perthes disease that affects 23-year-old Hewett’s hip is not severe enough to qualify him for wheelchair tennis from the end of 2021.

🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺 Australia update

Dylan Alcott won the men’s quad singles gold in the wheelchair tennis with a 7-6, 6-4 victory over Sam Schröder, keeping him on course for a “golden slam” if he can win the US Open. Emma Kemp has more.

Dylan Alcott competes against Netherland&#x002019;s Sam Schr&#xf6;der in the quad singles wheelchair tennis gold medal match.
Dylan Alcott competes against Netherland’s Sam Schröder in the quad singles wheelchair tennis gold medal match. Photograph: Bob Martin for OIS/PA

There were no Australian golds in the Japan National Stadium today, but there were medals for James Turner (sliver, men’s T36 100m), Nicholas Hum (bronze, T20 long jump) and Deon Kenzie (bronze, men’s T38 1500m)

🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵 The hosts and beyond

Sarina Satomi secured a day 11 gold for Japan in the badminton as she beat Thailand’s Sujirat Pookkham in a final that went to three sets. The sport has made its debut at these Games.

Sarina Satomi of Team Japan celebrates her victory.
Sarina Satomi of Team Japan celebrates her victory. Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Bosnia-Herzegovina won the bronze in the men’s sitting volleyball, with the gold going to Iran after they defeated Not Russia 3-1 in the final.

Canada’s Nathe Reich secured a gold on his Paralympics debut with a win in the men’s T37 1500m, and Azerbaijan, who have been in the top ten in the medal table for most of these Games, added another two golds with victories for Orkhan Aslanov in the T13 men’s long jump and Lamiya Valiyeva in the women’s T13 400m.

Orkhan Aslanov jumping his way to another gold for Azerbaijan.
Orkhan Aslanov jumping his way to another gold for Azerbaijan. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

It was a pair of one-twos in the shooting today. India’s Manish Narwal won gold and compatriot Singhraj silver in the mixed 50m pistol SH1 final, while Serbia’s Dragan Ristic and Zdravko Savanovic were the gold and silver medalists respectively in the mixed 50m rifle prone SH2. It was Ristic’s second gold of these Games.

Double gold medalist Dragan Ristic of Serbia.
Double gold medalist Dragan Ristic of Serbia. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

There were gold medals in the boccia pairs competitions for Slovakia, South Korea and Thailand.

Howon Jeong of South Korea in action during the Boccia Pairs BC3 contest.
Howon Jeong of South Korea in action during the Boccia Pairs BC3 contest. Photograph: Joe Toth for OIS/PA

An appeal by China has been upheld, and two of Thiago Paulino dos Santos’ attempts in the men’s F57 shot put yesterday have now been revised as failures. That means he now has bronze instead of gold, and the win has been retrospectively awarded to Wu Guoshan. Not that China are short of gold medals – they have 93 as it stands.

There won’t just be the closing ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday. Paris will celebrate hosting the 2024 Summer Paralympics with an event at the Trocadéro that runs alongside the closing ceremony in Japan, and will no doubt feature via video link.

Organisers promise that it will feature entertainment and a chance to try out Paralympic sports, and have been offering free tickets to the event all week. Among the artists trailed in advance as appearing is hip-hop producer Pone. Due to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease he became quadriplegic, and he uses eye-tracking software to compose. He will be giving a live performance on Sunday.

French music producer Guilhem Gallart, known as Pone, using the eye-tracking music software.
French music producer Guilhem Gallart, known as Pone, using the eye-tracking music software. Photograph: Fred Scheiber/AFP/Getty Images

Key events for Sunday 5 September

All events are listed here in local Tokyo time. Add an hour for Sydney, subtract eight hours for Manchester, 13 hours for New York and 16 hours for San Francisco.

🌟If you only watch one thing: 6.30am Marathon – the final day of Tokyo features five marathons that start at the Olympic stadium, with the men’s T54 and women’s T54 wheelchair marathons going off at 6.30am and 6.40am, and then at 6.50am the men’s and women’s T12 races for visually impaired athletes and the men’s T46 race starts. It sounds like endurance chaos. I can’t wait. A note for readers in the UK, that makes it as 10.30pm start tonight. Get the cocoa on 🥇

  • 9am Badminton – it is wall-to-wall bronze medal play-offs and final matches on Sunday, with seven gold medals at stake 🥇

  • 10am Sitting volleyball – the women’s gold medal final is on at the Makuhari Messe as the US face China 🥇

  • 10am and 2.30am Wheelchair basketball – it is the men’s bronze medal match first featuring Spain and Great Britain, and then it is the US v Japan for what might be the final of the Games, depending on how quickly they whip through the badminton 🥇

  • 11.30am Shooting – the final shooting final is the mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 🥇

  • 8pm Closing ceremony – and that’s a wrap.

As it stands

Here’s how the emoji table stood at 10.20pm Tokyo time today, going into the final day. Worth noting that on the last day the USA are in two team finals, which could allow them to leapfrog Not Russia in the final table by the end of the Games.

1 🇨🇳 China 🥇 93 🥈 56 🥉 50 total: 199
2 🇬🇧 Great Britain 🥇 41 🥈 38 🥉 42 total: 121
3 ◻️ Not Russia 🥇 36 🥈 31 🥉 49 total: 116
3 🇺🇸 USA 🥇 35 🥈 36 🥉 28 total: 99
5 🇺🇦 Ukraine 🥇 24 🥈 47 🥉 27 total: 98
6 🇳🇱 Netherlands 🥇 24 🥈 17 🥉 16 total: 57
7 🇧🇷 Brazil 🥇 21 🥈 19 🥉 29 total: 69
8 🇦🇺 Australia 🥇 20 🥈 28 🥉 30 total: 78
9 🇮🇹 Italy 🥇 14 🥈 29 🥉 26 total: 69
10 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan 🥇 14 🥈 1 🥉 4 total: 19

Useful links

Interactive medal table | Full results service | Paralympic Games classification guide

Get in touch

What do we know in advance about the closing ceremony? Not much, however, organisers have announced that the theme of Sunday’s closing ceremony will be “Harmonious Cacophony”. They say it represents “a world inspired by the Paralympics, one where differences shine. In this world, diverse bodies, unique technologies and different materials all come together as a harmonious and colourful whole, not as a single blended colour, but each one shining as they are.”

The ceremony is expected to run for about three hours, and among the flag-bearers will be Australia’s retiring four-time Paralympian and winner of 17 Paralympic swimming medals Ellie Cole. Canada’s wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos, who has won four medals in Tokyo, will be holding their flag. “I’ve never done something like this before,” he said. “I’ve stood on the podium, I’ve heard our anthem play, but I’ve never held the flag. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope I make the country proud.”

Remember, you can get in touch with me at martin.belam@theguardian.com, and I’m enjoying hearing about what your favourite moments from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics have been.

The last word

I’m just one piece of a puzzle that creates this moment and these Games. From the battlefield of Afghanistan, laying in the dirt and potentially going to die, all the people from that moment all the way through my recovery and up to here, and my family and friends beyond that, all of the effort and the work they put in to support me, this is just a tribute to that – Australia’s Curtis McGrath, who won a second gold in paracanoe today.

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