Shot putter stripped of Paralympics gold – after arriving three minutes late for final

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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics: Shot putter stripped of gold medal - after arriving three minutes late for final - AFP
Tokyo 2020 Paralympics: Shot putter stripped of gold medal - after arriving three minutes late for final - AFP
  • GB's David Smith wins boccia BC1 gold, defending his title from Rio

  • Becky Redfern secures silver in SB13 100m breaststroke

  • Sammi Kinghorn claims bronze in T53 100m final

  • Victoria Rumary third in W1 ​archery in Games debut

  • Ross Wilson, Aaron McKibbin and Billy Shilton win C8 table tennis bronze

  • Paul Karabardak and Will Bayley​ through to C6/7 table tennis final

  • GB men progress to wheelchair basketball semi-finals

A shot putter has been stripped of his Paralympic title and a new world record after being disqualified for turning up to the final three minutes late.

Malaysia's Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, who competes in the F20 classification for athletes with intellectual impairments, appeared to win gold in Tuesday's competition with a 17.94m throw - more than half a metre further than his existing world record.

But he failed to make the podium because he had reported to the athlete call room late, prompting outcry from his supporters.

He and two other athletes in the field were recorded as 'did not start' in the official results, and International Paralympic Committee spokesman Craig Spence said they had been allowed to compete under protest following their late arrival. All three arrived just three minutes late.

Defending champion and world record holder Zolkefli, 31, was the only one of the trio whose throw would have won him a medal, and gold at that, but an appeal to allow his distance to stand was rejected by World Para Athletics.

It meant Ukraine's Maksym Koval and Oleksandr Yarovyi won gold and silver respectively, while Efstratios Nikolaidis of Greece took bronze.

Koval also became the new world record holder in Zolkefli's place, his 17.34m throw beating the Malaysian's existing record set in 2017 by five centimetres.

Maksym Koval won gold after Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli's disqualification - GETTY IMAGES
Maksym Koval won gold after Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli's disqualification - GETTY IMAGES

The Ukrainian athletes and Paralympic Committee have since been targeted with what Spence described as "very abusive" social media comments.

Many online were calling for Zolkefli's record not to be erased from history over what they perceived as an unfairly strict ruling.

But Spence defended the outcome, saying: "I’m sorry. Rules are rules. The decision was taken. It wasn’t the Ukrainians fault that the Malaysian was late. Others get there five minutes early."

Spence said an excuse given by Zolkefli and the two other late athletes, from Australia and Ecuador, was they "didn’t hear the announcement or it was in a language" they did not understand.

At Rio 2016, Zolkefli became Malaysia's second ever Paralympic champion, with his victory in the same event, and won bronze in London four years previously, where he served as his country's flag bearer.

Mullooly: Being put in quarantine cost me a medal

By Molly McElwee in Tokyo

Zara Mullooly has said a period of self-isolation ahead of her Paralympic Games cost her the chance of a medal in Japan after the he British swimmer fell agonisingly short of a podium place in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Northampton-born Mullooly was one of two swimmers, along with Scott Quin, who missed 12 training sessions and was cooped up in her room for almost a week during the team's holding camp ahead of the start of the Games. They were both deemed close contacts of a British Swimming support team member who tested positive for Covid upon arrival in Japan.

She said it definitely had an impact on her performances, after finishing fourth in the S10 400m freestyle – her final individual event, meaning the 18-year-old will go home without an individual medal.

"I was hoping to go close to my personal best, and to be that far away, I'm quite shocked to be honest," Mullooly, who has cerebral palsy, said. "We had a bit of a rubbish lead-in to the Games, myself and Scott Quin were sat in our rooms for a week unable to train and that definitely affected that race more than it would have affected my shorter races. I'm still pretty disappointed with it.

"My head has been a bit all over the place the whole time we've been here. It was great when we found out we'd be allowed to compete, but it's just been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, the last three weeks has been really, really challenging. It's been difficult knowing that, had it gone my way, I'd be performing better."

Meanwhile team-mate Rebecca Redfern won a silver medal in the SB13 100m breast stroke, repeating her success from Rio, just over a year after giving birth to her son Patrick.

Redfern, 21, had her first child in July 2020, and continued training for the Paralympics and studying for her degree at the University of Worcester, all while juggling the challenges of new motherhood.

She led at the midway point of her race, before being caught by Elena Krawzow of Germany. She said the Games being postponed during her pregnancy gave her the motivation to get to Tokyo.

"It felt like fate and that they'd given me time to recover and prepare," Redfern, who has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition, said. "I felt like I had to come in, I had to give it my all, and that's what I did.

"Your body goes through a lot of changes with pregnancy and breastfeeding. For a man, it's a lot easier to cope. It's still hard work, but for a woman, yeah, it's been difficult. The time away, it has been a long three weeks but I hope I've made [Patrick] proud. It means so much more. He will be able to look back on all of this for so many years and tell all of his friends. I'm so proud to do this for him."

Sammi Kinghorn wins first Paralympic medal

By Molly McElwee in Tokyo

Wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn fulfilled her dream of winning the first Paralympic medal of her career on Wednesday, a decade on from the accident that forced her to rethink her entire life.

Growing up on a farm on the Scottish Borders, rearing cattle and nursing lambs, Kinghorn had harboured dreams of emulating her idol Steve Urwin to become a zoologist. But an accident on her parents' farm aged 14 left Kinghorn paralysed, and wondering if her hopes and dreams were over.

But during her six-month rehabilitation in hospital, her physiotherapist introduced her to wheelchair racing at the Spinal Unit Games, and a new dream was born. She became a Paralympian six years later in Rio, and on Wednesday night, at the drizzly Olympic Stadium, Kinghorn secured her first of what she hopes will be many Paralympic medals with a bronze in T53 100m.

"To be able to call myself a bronze medallist knowing there were moments in the race I definitely could have done more and done better is huge for me, because I know there are only three years to Paris and I know that I can get stronger," Kinghorn said, after being beaten by China's Gao Fang and Zhou Hongzhuanand. "The night I had my accident, I was lying in the hospital bed at 14 years old. I wanted to be a zoologist and I felt like all my dreams were shattered and wondered what on earth I was going to do. Did I think I was going to compete in the Tokyo Paralympic Games and win a bronze medal for my country? Absolutely not."

Kinghorn spent lockdown back at her parent's farm, helping out during lambing season and even being gifted one to keep by her father. She hopes to have her own plot of land with some animals one day, but first she has big ambitions in athletics. Though she still feels extreme nerves ahead of competing, admitting to vomiting before every race including Wednesday's final, she says it is pushing herself to the limit in training that motivates her.

"Competing terrifies me but training, I love it," she said. "I love that feeling every day of thinking, 'my body can't possibly do any more', but the next day it gives you that little bit more. I find it incredible that after all the trauma my body has been through, it's getting stronger, faster and more powerful.

"Coming back with gold medals, that's what I want, that's what I'm doing it for. I’d love to break a world record in the 100m, it's definitely my aim."

On Thursday she competes in the 400m, her third and final event of these Games, after finishing fourth in the 800m last Sunday.

David Smith felt presence of late grandfather in boccia triumph

By Gareth A Davies

David Smith experienced “a weird supernatural feeling” which was explained as the presence of his late grandfather as the ultra-competitive athlete secured an emotional defence of his boccia title and a third Games gold medal to become the most-decorated Great Britain player ever in his sport.

Smith beat Malaysia’s Chew Wei Lun in a thrilling encounter, trailing in the opening end before showing his immense class to secure a 4-2 victory at the denouement in the fourth end. This was his fifth medal, having also won team gold in Beijing, with silver and bronze in London, overtaking mentor and former team-mate Nigel Murray as ParalympicsGB’s greatest boccia player.

Asked if he minded being described as the Lionel Messi of boccia, Smith replied: “I think I’m more like [Cristiano] Ronaldo to be fair. But I call myself ‘the Ronnie O’Sullivan of boccia’ to be honest, but I’ll take whatever comes.

“I like to be creative, I like to put on a show, I like to play well but I prefer to win, so I guess you could put me in that camp. I’m probably unlike Ronnie and more like Ronaldo in that if I have to dig it out, I will, and I work hard to get what I need to do.”

The sport is designed so that athletes with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or neurological impairment impacting motor function can compete and has been included in the Paralympics since 1984. Competitors in wheelchairs throw with their hands, feet, or even have assistance from ramps, pointers and helpers, as they project leather balls filled with plastic granules towards the jack. The balls rarely bounce and are easier to grip.

David Smith of Team Great Britain competes in the Boccia Individual  - Getty Images
David Smith of Team Great Britain competes in the Boccia Individual - Getty Images

While Smith’s brilliance and steely nerves have made him unbeatable over two Games, his forte has also been in changing perception of those outside his sphere. A graduate in aerospace engineering, 32-year-old Smith was born with cerebral palsy in Eastleigh, Hampshire, and explained his emotion and tears post-victory in the discipline, which bookends the Paralympic sports spectrum.

Boccia is one of only two sports on the programme at Tokyo 2020 that is not Olympic, and has always captured the imagination of the public with its range of disabilities, motorised wheelchairs and intense game play. “My grandad [Charlie] passed away when I was about 16 and he never got to see all the things I became afterwards, I just had a weird feeling when I came out on court that he was there somewhere, that’s what the tears were for. Then the game happened and I nailed the jack with my first ball and I was thinking, yep, you really are here, excellent.

“There are a lot of things going on in my head at the moment, becoming the first BC1 to defend a Paralympic title and becoming the most successful British player of all-time. You try not to think about it, but it does matter, I do care about stuff like that.” The final was shown live on Channel 4 in the UK. “This is such a great sport and I just feel we are getting the recognition we deserve here, that makes me feel a bit emotional,” said the man with the dyed purple mohawk and blue sides.

Paralympics day eight - as it happened

12:32 PM

That's all for today

We'll be back from 6.30am tomorrow morning.

12:21 PM

GOLD for Markus Rehm

His fifth round leap of 8.18m secures the German his fourth Paralympic gold medal.

  1. Markus Rehm GER

  2. Dimitri Pavarde FRA

  3. Trenten Merrill USA

12:09 PM

Markus Rehm out to 8.09m in the third round

He's 70cm clear of France's Dimitry Pavarde who sits in the silver medal position.

Markus Rehm competing in the T64 long jump final - REUTERS
Markus Rehm competing in the T64 long jump final - REUTERS

11:52 AM

Germany's 'Blade Jumper' Markus Rehm

Is in action in the T64 long jump final. His first-round leap of 8.06m is comfortably ahead of the field but he'll be hoping to go much further.

Rehm set a new world record of 8.62m earlier this year. For reference, the Olympic long jump in Tokyo was won in 8.41m...

11:46 AM

Reaction from Sammi Kinghorn

Who was speaking to Channel 4:

I can't believe it! I know I'm still getting faster and know that I will win gold but it's just learning.

Every single time I get on the track I learn something else. I'm so chuffed to come away with a medal.

I know I've got more in me...I'm 25 years old, a lot of the girls on the start line are older and have more experience.

In three years in Paris I'll be more mature and - hopefully - I'll be faster.

11:42 AM

It's BRONZE for Sammi Kinghorn!

China claim a one-two in the T53 100m! Fang Gao and Hongzhuan Zhou both looked strong and led Kinghorn throughout.

But the Briton finished comfortably ahead of fourth place to win her first Paralympic medal.

11:27 AM

Meet Sammi Kinghorn

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11:04 AM

Attention turns to the Olympic Stadium

Just one GB athlete competing on track today - wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn goes for gold in the 100m T53 sprint final at 12.37pm.

She was fifth in Rio but won the 100m/200m double at the 2017 World Championship.

10:49 AM

Absolute scenes in the table tennis!

GB's Paul Karabardak and Will Bayley are through to the gold medal match after Karabardak edged a tense, tight singles game against Alvaro Valera in their semi-final decider.

They will go for gold against China in the final on Friday.

Will Bayley (right) and Paul Karabardak are through to the Class 6/7 final - REUTERS
Will Bayley (right) and Paul Karabardak are through to the Class 6/7 final - REUTERS

10:43 AM

Final score - GB 66 Canada 52

Gaz Choudhry's team piled the points on down the stretch to ease into the semi-finals.

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10:38 AM

GB men heading for wheelchair basketball semi-finals

They've extended their lead over Canada to 66-52 with 60 seconds remaining.

It's been a supremely dominant performance in the fourth quarter and they're on the verge of a seventh successive semi-final.

They will face either Japan or Australia in the final four.

10:28 AM

What a start to the fourth quarter from GB!

They've stormed into a 53-45 lead and are piling the pressure on the Canadians with just over six minutes remaining in this last-eight clash.

Gregg Warburton shoots for GB against Canada - PA
Gregg Warburton shoots for GB against Canada - PA

10:19 AM

Wheelchair basketball quarter-final going down to the wire

It's a one-point game - Canada 43 GB 42 at the end of the third quarter...

10:17 AM

SILVER for Becky Redfern!

Redfern got a great start and was leading at the halfway point.

But Germany's Elena Krawzow ate into the deficit in the second half and pipped the Briton at the wall.

A superb swim from Redfern.

10:14 AM

Over in the pool

Becky Redfern is in the SB13 100m breaststroke final. She won silver in Rio aged 16 and was world champion in 2019...

10:11 AM

'I hope this inspires people to give it a go'

Boccia gold medalist David Smith has just been interviewed by Channel 4 - here's what he had to say:

"I think it's massively important to perform well in front of the cameras. My Twitter and Instagram are buzzing like crazy.

"We've been under-represented in the past, playing in front of sell-out crowds but not broadcast live. To have it shown live has totally changed everything.

"We've also seen real quality matches this week across the boccia categories and I hope it will encourage more people to take up the sport...

"I hope this inspires people to give it a go - it's such a good game and really intense!"

10:05 AM

Table tennis update

Spain beat GB in the doubles earlier on but Will Bayley has just cruised past Jordi Morales 3-0 in their singles clash.

That leaves the match tied at one apiece - GB's Paul Karabardak faces Alvaro Valera in the second singles match for a place in the final.

09:51 AM

GB trail Canada

26-30 at the halfway stage of their wheelchair basketball quarter-final.

09:49 AM

That is some serious longevity!

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09:38 AM

GB men's wheelchair basketball quarter-final

Against Canada is into the second quarter. It's 20-20.

The men will be hoping they can progress further than their female counterparts who crashed out at the quarter-final stage yesterday.

09:33 AM

Bayley and Karabardak

Lose their table tennis doubles match against Spain 17-15.

That heaps the pressure on the British pair who will both need to triumph in singles action if they are to reach the Class 6/7 final.

09:24 AM

Drama in the table tennis

British pair Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak are involved in a see-sawing Class 6/7 semi-final against Spain.

It's two games apiece in the doubles and locked at 14-14 in the decider.

Both sides have had match points but not been able to get over the line...

If GB lose then they will need to win both singles matches to progress.

09:12 AM

Smith secures place in boccia history books with third gold

By Gareth A Davies, at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo

Perfectionist. Competitive. Ruthless.

David Smith, who was born with cerebral palsy 32 years ago, just became the greatest GB boccia player of all time.

At his fourth Games, Smith, an aerospace engineering graduate, earned a third gold medal in the BC1 final, having won team gold in Beijing and the individual title in Rio. He also claimed two medals at London 2012 - one silver and a bronze.

There were tears, too, as the man in the pink mohawk outdid Malaysian rival Chew Wei Lun 4-2 late in the fourth end, after they had been deadlocked at 2-2.

I'm looking forward to speaking to the popular GB team member shortly here in the mixed zone.

Medal ceremony first. More tears, I expect... as Smith becomes one of the greats in a sport that bookends the Paralympic sports spectrum.

In the slightly re-jigged words of amputee sprinter Jonnie Peacock: "If this isn't an advert for Paralympic sport, I don't know what is."

09:05 AM

Tears of joy

For David Smith after his third Paralympic gold medal.

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08:52 AM

David Smith's gold

is Paralympics GB's 30th of these Games. What an outstanding effort.

08:46 AM

GOLD for David Smith!

In the BC1 boccia. Smith trailed 2-0 after the first end but clawed his way back into the match to level it up at 2-2 heading into the final end.

And he secured the two closest balls in the fourth and final end to win 4-2. Smith defends his title from Rio!

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08:42 AM

Over in the pool

Zara Mullooly has just missed out on a medal, finishing fourth in the S10 400m freestyle final.

08:33 AM

It's tight and tense in the boccia

David Smith trails 2-1 midway through the third of four ends - and both players have two balls remaining.

David Smith competes in the boccia BC1 final - PA
David Smith competes in the boccia BC1 final - PA

08:19 AM

Boccia final update

David Smith trails Chew Wei Lun 2-0 after the first end.

08:13 AM

Shot putter stripped of title after arriving late

By Molly McElwee, in Tokyo

A Malaysian shot putter has been stripped of the Paralympic title and a new world record after being disqualified for turning up to the final three minutes late.

Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, who competes in the F20 classification for athletes with intellectual impairments, appeared to win gold in Tuesday's competition with a 17.94m throw - over half a metre longer than his existing world record.

But he failed to make the podium because he had reported to the athlete call room late, prompting outcry from his supporters.

He and two other athletes in the field were recorded as 'did not start' in the official results, and International Paralympic Committee spokesman Craig Spence said they had been allowed to compete under protest following their late arrival. All three arrived just three minutes late.

Defending champion and world record holder Zolkefli, 31, was the only one of the trio whose throw would have won him a medal, and gold at that, but an appeal to allow his distance to stand was rejected by World Para Athletics.

08:00 AM

What it means to win a Paralympic gold medal

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07:56 AM

David Smith's boccia gold medal match

Is due to begin imminently. He won a team gold in Beijing and an individual title in Rio - and is GB's most successful boccia player ever.

Smith faces Malaysia's Chew Wei Lun in the final.

07:22 AM

Coming up today

  • David Smith in boccia BC1 final from 8.50am

  • Anthony Cotterill and David Lapthorne in wheelchair tennis quad doubles bronze match at 10am

  • Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley in wheelchair tennis doubles semi-final from 10am

  • GB men's wheelchair basketball in quarter-final from 10.15am

  • Becky Redfern in SB13 100m breaststroke final at 11.08am

  • Sammi Kinghorn in 100m T53 sprint final at 12.37pm

07:05 AM

GB's men are in the wheelchair basketball quarter-finals

From about 10.15am BST.

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06:47 AM

GAME, SET, MATCH Alfie Hewett!

The world No 2 and Rio silver medalist breaks Nicolas Peifer to love to secure a straight-sets triumph, 6-3 6-4.

He's through to the singles semi-finals - and was already into the doubles final alongside Gordon Reid.

06:44 AM

Hewett one game away

The Briton secures a really important hold to lead 5-4 in the second set, one game away from the semi-finals.

This one had three deuces but Hewett managed to pull it out. Peifer to serve the next game.

06:24 AM

Peifer fights back

Alfie Hewett looked to be cruising into the semi-finals after taking a 3-0 lead in the second set.

But Nicolas Peifer held serve and then broke Hewett in the next game to claw it back to 3-2.

06:19 AM

More GB medals overnight

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06:13 AM

Superb start to the second set

From Alfie Hewett, who holds serve and then breaks Nicolas Peifer in double-quick time to race into a 2-0 lead.

He's won five games in a row now.

06:04 AM

Alfie Hewett wins the first set!

The world No 2 takes the opener 6-3 in 41 minutes to move a set closer to the last four.

05:48 AM

Alfie Hewett is in wheelchair tennis singles action

Can he join his doubles partner Gordon Reid in the last four of the singles competition?

The Briton currently leads France's Nicolas Peifer 3-2 in the first set.

05:47 AM

Congratulations to Victoria Rumary

Who won W1 archery bronze for Paralympics GB overnight.

Victoria Rumary defeated the United States' Lia Coryell to win the bronze medal match - GETTY IMAGES
Victoria Rumary defeated the United States' Lia Coryell to win the bronze medal match - GETTY IMAGES

05:36 AM

Gordon Reid was pushed hard but made it through in three sets

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05:34 AM

Hello and welcome

To our live coverage of day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Yesterday proved to be another successful day for Paralympics GB in Tokyo - they added 12 medals to their tally across cycling, swimming and athletics.

GB's first medal hope of this morning is David Smith who is looking to defend his boccia BC1 category from about 8.50am BST.

Smith made his Paralympic debut in 2008, and has since gone on to become one of the most successful boccia players in history, with multiple world and European titles to add to the Paralympic gold he claimed at Rio 2016.

If you've not watched boccia before then it is similar to bowls - but has no direct Olympic equivalent.

Here's how Paralympics GB describes the sport: "The idea is simple. One side has six red balls and the other six blue balls. The aim is to get your balls closer to the white target ball, the 'jack', than your opponent.

"To start an end, one side will throw the jack. They will then throw their first ball trying to get it as close as possible. The other side then attempts to throw their ball closer.

"After that, the side whose ball is not closest to the jack throws the next ball. Once all balls have been played, points are awarded.

"The side that is closest to the jack receives a point for every ball they have nearer than their opponent’s closest ball."

Simple, right? A match consists of four ends and the player with the highest score is the winner.

Elsewhere today, Becky Redfern goes for gold in SB13 100m breaststroke final at 11.09am - she was the second fastest qualifier.

And 2017 world champion Sammi Kinghorn will be looking for a medal in the T53 100m sprint on the track.

While we're over halfway through the Games, the Paralympic badminton tournaments only begin today. GB's Dan Bethell is in action in an SL3 group stage clash against Japane's Daisuke Fujihara from 12.20.

Stick with us from now until about 1.30pm BST for live coverage and updates.

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