After nine golds and seven silvers, Sophie Pascoe has claimed her first Paralympic bronze medal.
The New Zealand swimmer finished third in the S9 100m backstroke final in Toyko, for her 17th Paralympic medal and second in Tokyo, after a silver in the SB8 100m breaststroke.
Pascoe led the field at the turn after a blistering start to the race which saw her swim the opening 50m in 33 seconds. However, she was chased down by US swimmer Hannah Aspden, as well as Spain’s Nuria Soto.
Aspden eventually won the gold in a time of 1:09.22 with Pascoe taking bronze in 1:11.15. Soto picked up the silver to complete a replica of the standings after the heats.
The 28-year-old will have three more chances to add to her medal tally in Tokyo, the next being in the S9 100m freestyle tomorrow.
Earlier, fellow Kiwi Jesse Reynolds finished sixth in the men’s S9 100m backstroke final.
After a slow start, Reynolds does well to pick up two places over the final 50m to finish in sixth place in a time of 1:04.60 – just 0.02s outside his personal best time.
That was also a one-place improvement for Reynolds compared to Rio 2016 in what was a commendable performance.
Gold went to world record holder Bogdan Mozgovoi of Russia.
Kiwi shooter misses medals
Veteran Paralympian Michael Johnson has missed out on the medals in the final of the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Standing SH2 event.
Competing in his fifth Games, one of only three Kiwi athletes to do so, Johnson failed to maintain a high enough average in the final, eventually eliminated in sixth place overall.
Johnson entered the final in strong form, qualifying with the second-highest average score in his heat.
However, he failed to carry that form through to the final as he averaged 10.438, after qualifying at a rate of 10.562.
Earlier, Johnson had talked about the experience of competing in his first major event in over two years, saying it was surprisingly taxing.
“I felt pretty good yesterday in my pre-event training but then today the nervousness and being out of the international competition for a couple of years must’ve got to me,” Johnson said after qualifying for the final.
“Man, I got super overheated with nerves. Being a tetraplegic you don’t regulate the body temperature as well so I was getting super hot.”
The 47-year-old Johnson has claimed a gold and two bronze medals over the course of a Paralympic shooting Para sport career that began with gold in Athens in 2004. He also has two World Championships to his name.
Johnson will have two further opportunities to add to his medal tally when he competes in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone event on Wednesday and the Mixed 50m Rifle Prone event on Saturday.
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