Rio de Janiero, Sept 14, 2016: Great Britain’s Kadeena Cox can call herself a Paralympic champion on two separate tracks. Four days after winning gold at the Rio Olympic Velodrome, the 25-year-old added the women’s 400m T38 title on Wednesday (14 September), day seven of athletics at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“I crossed the line and I was like ‘Is this it? Have I really done it?’” Cox said. “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.”
Cox can also call herself the world record holder in both events.
At the Olympic Stadium during the early session, Cox lowered the event’s global standard to 1:00.71. She beat out China’s Junfei Chen (1:01.34), who took silver at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Brazil’s home favourite Veronica Hipolito (1:03.14) concluded her first Paralympic Games with the bronze medal, adding to the silver she won in the 100m T38.
“The cross-training has actually benefited me so much,” said Cox, who won Paralympic gold in the women’s track cycling C 4-5 500m time trial. “I’m strong at the back end because I can cycle a 500m.”
It was a showdown among the top teenagers in the women’s 100m T35.
China’s 17-year-old Xia Zhou (13.66) upset Australian world record holder Isis Holt (13.75) for gold. Zhou entered Wednesday with the second fastest time in the world but held off the 15-year-old world champion. Great Britain’s World runner-up Maria Lyle, 16, took (14.41) the bronze medal.
“She [Holt] and the others are really strong. I wasn’t expecting to win so I am really happy,” Zhou said. “I was just hoping to finish in the top three.”
Holt will still get to bid for Paralympic gold in Rio, taking on the 200m and 4x100m relay T35-38 events.
“They are all incredibly, incredibly fast,” Holt said. “It’s great running against such good competition. It’s what we come here to do and they definitely delivered.”
World records were also set in Wednesday’s early sessions.
In the women’s long jump T37, China’s 18-year-old gold medal winner Xiaoyan Wen was leaping well beyond the world record mark. Her best jump came in the fourth attempt (5.14). Germany’s Franziska Liebhardt (4.42) successfully reached the podium in her second Paralympic appearance. Australia’s two-time Paralympian Jodi Elkington-Jones (4.30) also did not leave the Games empty-handed, going home with the bronze.
Italy’s Assunta Legnante (15.74) triumphed in the women’s shot put F11-12, defending the gold she won at London.
Uzbekistan’s Safiya Burkhanova (15.05) took the silver, setting the world record in the F12 class. Mexico’s Worlds bronze medallist Rebeca Valenzuela Alvarez (13.05) completed the podium.
“I’m really happy despite all the pain,” Legnante said. “Here it wasn’t important how far I would throw but to get one centimetre more than my opponents.”
In his Paralympic debut, Uzbekistani teenager Aleksandr Svechnikov set the bar early in his second attempt (65.69), en route to the gold. Iran’s reigning Paralympic silver medallist Sajad Nikparast (62.74) and Serbia’s Worlds bronze medallist Nemanja Dimitrijevic (60.86) chased the 18-year-old but managed silver and bronze, respectively.
“I am feeling a very big joy,” Svechnikov said. “I couldn’t believe that I would ever win the Games. It’s a real shock for me, but I’m also very happy. I send greetings to my family, my sister, my brothers, to the whole country of Uzbekistan.”
Greece’s Che Jon Fernandes, the reigning world champion, added the Paralympic title to his name after winning the men’s shot put F53 with a throw of 8.44m. The USA’s Scot Severn had his best finish after three Paralympics with 8.41m for the silver. Iran’s Asadollah Azimi (8.14m) secured the bronze.
In the morning heats, the US trio of Tatyana McFadden, Amanda McGrory and Chelsea McClammer all recorded the fastest times to advance in the women’s 5,000m T54.
Germany’s Heinrich Popow won his heat in the men’s 100m T42 and will get a shot at defending his title. Australia’s world champion Scott Reardon clocked the fastest overall to take the second heat.
Brazil will have plenty to cheer for in the men’s 200m T11, after reigning Paralympic and world champion Felipe Gomes with guide Jonas de Lima Silva, and Worlds bronze medallist Daniel Silva and guide Heitor de Oliveira Sales, advanced into the finals. —- IPC
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