24 August 2021

Today in Tokyo - Day 1

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are finally here and ParalympicsGB got the medal ball rolling on Day 1 over in Japan.

Dame Sarah Storey claimed a 15th gold medal of her historic career to move within striking distance of Mike Kenny as Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian, while the Izu Velodrome also saw two silver medals scooped up by Brits.

Three was also the magic number in the pool, with a trio of swimmers recording podium finishes on the opening evening, while plenty of other sports also got underway.

If you missed any of the action, here’s what happened today in Tokyo.

Storey secures 15th gold to get ParalympicsGB up and running

Dame Sarah Storey powered to ParalympicsGB’s first gold at Tokyo 2020 - and crushed her own world record in the process.

Dame Sarah Storey reigned supreme in the velodrome once more

So often the standard-bearer for the team, it seemed fitting Storey got the medal count rolling as British cyclists claimed gold and two silvers at the Izu Velodrome.

It’s 29 years since Storey made her debut as a 14-year-old swimmer in Barcelona - and nearly three decades and 26 medals later, including 15 gold, she shows no signs of slowing down, in fact quite the opposite.

She beat fellow Brit Crystal Lane-Wright in the gold medal race for a fourth consecutive C5 3000m individual pursuit title, while Stephen Bate joined Lane-Wright in providing silver service by coming second in the men’s B 4000m individual pursuit.


Kearney, Dunn and Shaw make it a triple medal haul in the pool

Tully Kearney narrowly missed out on gold in the women’s 200m freestyle S5 final, as ParalympicsGB scooped a trio of medals on the first day of swimming action.

Kearney – a seven-time world champion across freestyle and butterfly – led the race at world record pace until the latter stages but was eventually pipped by China’s defending champion Zhang Li, who finished 0.12s ahead with a time of 2:46.53.

Tully Kearney claimed silver in the pool

Silver was also the colour for Reece Dunn, who reached the latest milestone in his rapidly rising swimming career by claiming silver in the men’s 100m butterfly S14 final, the first of four events being contested by the 25-year-old on his Paralympic debut.

Dunn – who only made his international bow in 2019 and won three golds and a silver at that year’s World Championships – had set a Paralympic record to qualify fastest in the heats, but Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira bettered that time in the showpiece.

Meanwhile, Toni Shaw took women’s 400m freestyle S9 bronze in the second race of the evening, thanks to an expertly-calculated swim in a time of 4:39.32.


Mixed results for ParalympicsGB teams against Canada

The prolific Jim Roberts scored 27 tries to lead ParalympicsGB to a pulsating 50-47 victory over Canada in their mixed wheelchair rugby opener.

ParalympicsGB impressive beat Canada in their wheelchair rugby opener

Great Britain’s quest for a first-ever medal in one of the Paralympic Games’ most iconic disciplines – called murderball when it was founded – began with a confident win in Group B.


However, the Canadians got their revenge in one of the other team sports at these Games, as the Brits fell to a 73-54 loss in the women’s wheelchair basketball Group A opener.

The world silver medallists bossed the early stages, leading 29-26 at half-time, but a strong Canadian comeback consigned Great Britain to defeat at Musashino Sport Plaza in Tokyo.


Bayley waltzes to victory on promising day for table tennis squad

Even reigning Paralympic champions get nervous but Will Bayley put anxiety to one side as he kickstarted his table tennis men’s singles class 7 title defence with an impressive victory.

Will Bayley began his title defence with an impressive triumph

Facing Poland’s Maksym Chudzicki in a Group B match, Bayley sealed a 3-1 victory in 28 minutes – edging a close first game 13-11 before dropping the second 11-8 but bouncing back to wrap up the next two 11-3, 11-8.

Meanwhile, Ross Wilson relished finally being back in the competitive arena as he opened his men’s singles class 8 event campaign with an impressive straight-games victory over Clement Berthier, while his class 8 compatriot Aaron McKibbin also started with a win by beating Australia’s Nathan Pellissier 11-9, 11-5, 11-5.

In the men’s singles class 9 event, Ashley Facey Thompson and Joshua Stacey both fell to defeat in their first group match, as did Sue Bailey and Megan Shackleton in the women’s single class 4.


More to come on thrilling Thursday

After ParalympicsGB’s medal-laden start to the Games there are plenty more gongs on offer on day two, with high-profile stars such as Ellie Simmonds, Jody Cundy and Lee Pearson entering the fray in the Japanese capital. 

Flagbearer Simmonds has barely left the spotlight since winning gold aged 13 at Beijing 2008, and she will bid to add to her tally of eight Paralympic medals in the women’s 200m individual medley SM6 at 9:30am BST, an event in which Maisie Summers-Newton will also feature.

Ellie Simmonds was flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony

More success could be on the cards in the velodrome with Cundy aiming to retain his C4-5 1000m crown at his seventh Games at 6:00am BST, while teammate Jaco van Gass opens his Paralympic account in the men’s C3 3000m individual pursuit (qualifying 4:04am BST, final 7:59am). 

Eleven-time Paralympic champion Pearson will be among the favourites for individual dressage gold as the equestrian competition gets underway. The 47-year-old’s grade II starts at 8:00am BST. 

Elsewhere, both the men’s and women’s teams are in wheelchair basketball action against Algeria (6:45am BST) and Japan (3:15am BST) respectively, while New Zealand lie in wait in wheelchair rugby (12:00pm BST). 

After exiting at the round of 16 stage with the sabre weapon, wheelchair fencing’s Piers Gilliver will hoping for better luck in the epee - the discipline in which he claimed a silver medal five years ago. He will be aiming for a spot in the category A showpiece at 11:00am BST, while Dimitri Coutya could battle for category B gold half-an-hour later. 

Zoe Newson will aim to add to her powerlifting bronzes from London 2012 and Rio 2016 in the women’s -41kg event from 5:00am BST. 

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