Channel 4 share ‘Super Human’ Paralympic 2020 trailer
Sarah Storey kicked off day one of the Tokyo Paralympics with gold for ParalympicsGB – a 15th of her glittering career.
Storey smashed her own world record in qualifying for the C5 3000m individual pursuit before beating compatriot Crystal Lane-Wright to win gold. Germany’s Denise Schindler clinched the first gold medal of Paralympics games with a bronze medal in women’s C1 3000m individual pursuit.
The Paralympics will see athletes handed their opportunity to shine just like the Tokyo Olympics after the delay due to the pandemic. The hope and expectation is that not only will there be elite-level competition, but the organisers want the Paralympics to enhance and prove Japanese society to be more inclusive.
It is the first city to host two Paralympic Games, 57 years on from their first Games in 1964, with 4,400 athletes in Tokyo representing 162 national Paralympic committees.
There will be 539 medal events on offer across 22 sports. Follow all the latest:
Paralympics 2021: Latest Day One updates
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Ali Jawad’s remarkable journey to Tokyo
Battling Crohn’s disease, Ali Jawad defied the odds to reach his fourth Paralympic Games. Vithushan Ehantharajah has spoken to the powerlifter every month throughout the pandemic to chart his remarkable journey to Tokyo.
Tom Kershaw25 August 2021 19:45
Sarah Storey starts as she means to go on on day one
Dame Sarah Storey began her quest to become Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian by smashing her own world record en route to stylishly retaining C5 3000m individual pursuit gold.
In a repeat of the all-British Rio 2016 final, Storey once more got the better of compatriot Crystal Lane-Wright.
The relentless defending champion laid down a marker earlier on day one of Tokyo 2020 by shaving more than four seconds of her own world record in qualifying, powering over the line in 3:27.057
She did not need to repeat the trick in the deciding race at the Izu Velodrome as she remarkably caught Lane-Wright inside eight laps following a rapid start, leaving her rival to settle for another silver.
In winning her country’s first gold of the Games, Storey took her total haul to 15 Paralympic golds – one short of swimmer Mike Kenny’s British record – and a phenomenal 26 medals overall.
The 43-year-old will have a chance to surpass Kenny next week when she attempts to defend her C5 time trial and C4-5 road race crowns.
“For me as an individual, I’ve won a medal at every single Games I’ve been to and this is my fourth time winning the individual pursuit in a row,” she told Channel 4.
“I broke the world record in Beijing, in London, in Rio, this morning, so for me it’s been quite overwhelming to try and keep backing that up and keep pushing on the pedals to go faster and faster.
“I never expected to go as quick as I did this morning but I’m so glad that I did.”
Ben Burrows25 August 2021 19:15
Inspirational Paralympics table tennis player wows fans
Inspirational Paralympics star Ibrahim Hamatdou has wowed sports fans by playing table tennis with his bat in his mouth.
The Egyptian athlete lost both his arms in a train accident when he was 10-years-old and after finding viral fame in 2014, is back in the spotlight at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
“I was trying first to use the bat under the arm, and I also tried using other things that weren’t working so well. Finally, I tried using my mouth,” Hamatdou has previously said of his unique technique.
Watch: Paralympian Ibrahim Hamatdou wows fans by playing table tennis with his mouth
Inspirational Paralympics star Ibrahim Hamatdou has wowed sports fans by playing table tennis with his bat in his mouth. The Egyptian athlete lost both his arms in a train accident when he was 10-years-old and after finding viral fame in 2014, is back in the spotlight at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. “I was trying first to use the bat under the arm, and I also tried using other things that weren’t working so well. Finally, I tried using my mouth,” Hamatdou has previously said of his unique technique.
Ben Burrows25 August 2021 18:45
Kadeena Cox looking to inspire next generation
Paralympic star Kadeena Cox hopes to inspire a future generation of black cyclists by showing the sport is not just for “white, middle-class males”.
Cox wrote her name into the history books at Rio 2016 by setting a world record en route to claiming gold in the C4-5 500m time trial and then repeating the feat in the T38 400m athletics event.
The 30-year-old will defend those multi-sport titles in Tokyo, beginning at the velodrome on Friday.
Leeds-born Cox, who has Jamaican parents, acknowledges there is a noticeable lack of diversity within elite cycling and has already set about changing that by setting up her KC Academy.
She believes more role models are needed and is eager to provide further inspiration in Japan after BMX rider Kye Whyte last month claimed BMX silver at the Olympics.
“Within British cycling there is limited numbers: there’s me, there’s Kye, there’s Quillan (Isidore), who is the other BMX who didn’t go the (Olympic) Games, and that’s kind of it,” she said.
“There aren’t very many people from a diverse background. I started my cycling academy to try and get more people from a BAME background into cycling.
“We’ve got a couple of cyclists that are currently working their way up through the rankings and hoping to be on the squad in the next few years.
“It’s nice Kye was out there, he’s won a medal, the nation has seen him, it’s like: ‘If Kye can do it, then I can do it’.
“And I always say it’s that visibility – if you see someone that looks like you doing something then you think you can achieve that.
“I would never have picked up cycling had it not been for my disability because it just wasn’t something I saw.
“You see someone riding past in their Lycra and it’s normally white, middle-class males and I never would have seen myself in that position, being an elite cyclist.
“So I think that visibility that Kye has given us, that visibility that I’m trying to give within disability sport, is just so key and hopefully it will mean more people will be coming into the sport.”
Ben Burrows25 August 2021 18:15
Great Britain make a splash in the pool on day one
Paralympic debutants Tully Kearney, Reece Dunn and Toni Shaw claimed medals for Great Britain on day one of the swimming at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Kearney was denied gold in the S5 200m freestyle in heart-breaking fashion after leading throughout before defending champion Zhang Li snatched victory at the last with a winning margin of just 0.12 seconds.
Dunn also had to settle for silver in the S14 100m butterfly as Brazilian Gabriel Bandeira pipped him to first place with a Paralympic record of 54.76.
Earlier, 18-year-old Shaw won ParalympicsGB’s first medal of the Games in the pool, clinching bronze in S9 400m freestyle with a lifetime best of 4:39.32.
Ben Burrows25 August 2021 17:40
JJ Chalmers reunites with pilot who flew him out of Afghanistan
Former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers was reunited with the pilot who flew him out of Afghanistan when he was injured a decade ago.
Chalmers was injured in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2011 before going on to become a TV presenter and a part of the Tokyo Paralympic Games on-air coverage.
Onboard his flight to Tokyo, the former marine discovered pilot David Ellis was the same pilot who flew him back from Afghanistan.
Chalmers said he immediately “burst into tears” upon being told and never thought he would meet the “profound and important” figure who got him home when he was injured.
Watch: JJ Chalmers meets life-saving pilot who flew him out of Afghanistan on way to Tokyo 2020
Former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers was reunited with the pilot who flew him out of Afghanistan when he was injured a decade ago.Chalmers was injured in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2011 before going on to become a TV presenter and a part of the Tokyo Paralympic Games on-air coverage.Onboard his flight to Tokyo, the former marine discovered pilot David Ellis was the same pilot who flew him back from Afghanistan.Chalmers said he immediately “burst into tears” upon being told and never thought he would meet the “profound and important” figure who got him home when he was injured.
Ben Burrows25 August 2021 17:22
Will Bayley makes strong start to table tennis title defence
Away from the velodrome and pool, table tennis star Will Bayley made a strong start the defence of his Paralympic class seven title.
The 33-year-old, who recovered from a serious knee injury suffered on Strictly Come Dancing to be at the delayed Games, wrapped up a 3-1 qualifying win over Poland’s Maksym Chudzicki.
He edged the opening game of the Group B encounter 13-11 and, after losing the second 11-8, regained his composure to complete the job with 11-3 and 11-8 successes.
“Obviously it has been a massive build-up to the tournament and I did feel the nerves before my match,” Bayley, who plays Thailand’s Chalermpong Punpoo on Thursday in his final group match, said in a statement.
“Experience is massive because I’ve played four tournaments as big as this and I just felt that I had that experience and he was maybe lacking a little bit of that, but he has got the ability.
“I haven’t played a match for two years and it’s what we train so hard for; we live for these moments to compete for GB.”
Ben Burrows25 August 2021 17:02
Japan extends Covid state of emergency as Paralympics events begin
The coronavirus state of emergency in Japan was extended for the second week in a row on Wednesday, bringing eight more prefectures under restrictions in a bid to keep a check on the disease outbreak driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The increasing pressure to control surging infections comes as the island country is hosting the Paralympics Games that involve the participation of thousands, despite mounting criticism of its handling of the disease outbreak.
The Covid-19 induced emergency was extended until 12 September by the authorities last week, expanding the restrictions to 13 prefectures from the six that include national capital Tokyo.
While eight prefectures like Hiroshima, Okayama, Aichi and Hokkaido have been shifted from “quasi-emergency” to full emergency status, four new prefectures have also been added to separate “quasi-emergency” status.
Jamie Braidwood25 August 2021 16:15
Tully Kearney cries happy tears after realising Paralympic dream at last
Tully Kearney finally got to cry happy tears just five years after she was told to give up on her Paralympic dream.
The 24-year-old seemed on course for a glorious gold in the 200m S5 freestyle but ran out of steam in the last 25 metres, beaten to the wall by China’s Zhang Li.
Kearney was expected to be one of the stars of Rio but was forced to withdraw two weeks before she was due to fly. Her condition, dystonia syndrome, progressed to the extent she was told her career was over and only her mum could convince her to return to the pool.
The seven-time world champion even had to learn how to swim again and says her medal is a reward for proving all the doubters wrong. “It means a lot to me because it shows other people with dystonia and all disabilities you don’t have to give up,” she said.
“You can achieve what you want to achieve, you just have to adapt and it might take longer. There were many times when I almost gave up. When I started to withdraw, there were many times when I was told I wouldn’t swim again and it took me so long to get back into the pool.
“I thought it would be better not to swim than learn I couldn’t. But my mum pushed me, because she knew I would find a way. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.”
Read Charlie Bennett’s full report from Tokyo, here.
Jamie Braidwood25 August 2021 15:48
Paralympics 2021: Storey ‘proud’ to win GB’s first medal
Jamie Braidwood25 August 2021 15:37