All the action as Holly Robinson goes for gold at the Paralympic Games.
Anna Grimaldi has defended her throne as Paralympic Games champion, claiming her second gold medal in the women’s long jump (T47) event in Tokyo.
The 24-year-old from Dunedin came into the event as the one to beat, and lived up to that moniker by posting a Paralympic record of 5.74m with her first of six attempts in the final in the wet and dreary conditions.
That mark would have been enough to win her the gold, but she improved to 5.76m on her fourth attempt following two no-jumps to extend her lead a touch further.
“I didn’t realise how close I was last games to getting that [Paralympic Games record] so I’m stoked I got it this time. I wish I would’ve been able to jump a bit further out there today but the conditions were a little bit average, so I’m stoked,” Grimaldi told TVNZ.
“I think we all prepared for it to be 40 degrees, bright sun, absolutely sweltering, but I think it’s nicer at home in Dunedin today than it is here.”
In the final round, after Ecuador’s Kiara Rodriguez had a no-jump with her last attempt and Russian Paralympic Committee representative Aleksandra Moguchaia posted a 5.67m jump, Grimaldi had the gold sealed before hitting the board one last time.
The smile on her face told the story as she lined up her final jump, bounded off the board with little authority and ran through the sand before heading to the stands to collect the New Zealand flag and drape it around her.
“After the fifth round, my coach said to take it back a foot, then I walked over and was like ‘this is the last round and I’m in first. When it gets to my jump, I will know what’s happened – I’ll either be in first or third or fourth or whatever’.
“It’s a pretty special feeling knowing you’re in first with one jump left, and then I was just too emotional to put it together (in the last jump).”
Her gold medal boosted New Zealand’s overall tally to 11, with five gold, three silver and three bronze medals in the bag. It’s 18 medals from the mark posted in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, when the New Zealanders came away with 29 medals.
On the water, canoe racer Scott Martlew came up just short of the medals in the KL2 final, finishing in fourth place.
It was a tightly raced contest, with several athletes in the medal hunt at the halfway point. However, the back end of the race saw a clear leader emerge in Australia’s Curtis McGrath, with Martlew in the contest for the minor placings.
However, he was unable to go with Ukranian Mykola Syniuk and Italy’s Federico Mancarella, who filled out the podium in second and third place. Martlew crossed the line liess than half a second behind Mancarella.
In the KL3 class, Corbin Hart finished fifth in the B final, while on the road, cyclist Sarah Ellington finished the women’s C1-3 road race in 12th place.
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