Tokyo prepares to say farewell to ‘most important’ Paralympics

The United States and China met in the women’s sitting volleyball final for the fourth straight Games

Tokyo prepared to bid a spectacular farewell to the Paralympics on Sunday, as organisers hailed the pandemic-delayed Games as the “most important edition” ever.

Fifteen gold medals were awarded on the final day of action, bringing the curtain down on a competition which saw a record 86 teams win medals and 62 claim at least one gold.

With the sporting action over, attention turned towards the closing ceremony at the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, where the Games opened 12 days earlier with howling guitars and neon-streaked performers.

International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons said the high turn-out in Tokyo was proof that “the Paralympic movement is stronger than ever before”.

The athletes competing in Tokyo included two from Afghanistan, who made a dramatic arrival with the Games already in progress after being evacuated from Kabul.

He stressed it would be their decision, and neither had been listed as flag-bearers by Sunday afternoon.

– ‘Silver bullet’ –

“Silver bullet” Hug opened up an early gap on the field, and moved away from silver medallist Zhang Yong over the last two uphill kilometres.

In the women’s T54 marathon, Australian Madison de Rozario clung on to finish ahead of Swiss great Manuela Schaer, winning the gold by just one second.

“That finish line couldn’t have come quick enough.”

“We could have enjoyed the Olympics and Paralympics differently if they weren’t during a pandemic, but I think it was good for us that we could host the events,” he said.

The Americans had ended China’s run of three consecutive golds five years ago in Rio, and they got the upper hand again after establishing an early two-set lead.

“We were also very anxious every day. Every single one of us had nerves, for every single match.”

In shooting, Slovakian Veronika Vadovicova won the mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 final, edging out Sweden’s Anna Normann and Spain’s Juan Antonio Saavedra Reinaldo.

amk/sah/oho

Originally published as Tokyo prepares to say farewell to ‘most important’ Paralympics

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