Paralympics gets going in Brazil
Ricardo Costa de Oliveira secured Brazil’s first Paralympic gold medal of Rio 2016 after triumphing in a dramatic T11 long jump competition at the Olympic Stadium today.
The 34-year-old had led in the early stages of the competition but saw his best effort of 6.43 metres bettered by Lex Gillette in the fifth round, the American jumping out to 6.44m.
Gillette, though, was forced to settle for the silver medal for the fourth successive Games after the home favourite leapt 6.52m with his final jump to secure gold.
Ukraine’s Ruslan Katyshev claimed the bronze medal with 6.20m.
The host nation had earlier been denied gold in the men’s T11 5,000 metres when Kenya’s Samwel Mushai Kimani narrowly triumphed in a time of 15min, 16.11sec.
Brazil’s Odair Santos earned silver after clocking 15:17.55, while Kimani’s fellow Kenyan Wilson Bil completed the podium in a personal best time of 15:22.96.
Only one other track final took place on the opening day of athletics competition, which took place in front of a sparse crowd.
It delivered a Chinese one-two, with Huang Lisha successfully defending the women’s T53 100m she won at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Huang produced a world record time of 16.19sec in the heats before winning the gold medal in a marginally slower time of 16.28.
Her team-mate Zhou Hongzhuan secured the silver medal in a personal best time of 16.51, while 16.59 proved enough for Australia’s Angela Ballard to win bronze.
Field events took the majority of attention with Uzbekistan’s Khusnidden Norbekov delivering a standout display in the men’s F37 discus final.
He produced a superb throw of 59.75m in the second round to smash the previous world record of 55.81m, set by Xia Dong at London 2012.
Lithuania’s Mindaugas Bilius finished some way adrift with a throw of 53.50m to take the silver medal, while the defending champion Xia earned bronze after throwing 52.15m.
New Zealand’s Anna Grimaldi marked her Paralympic debut with gold in the women’s T47 long jump, the 19-year-old producing a personal best distance of 5.62m in the final round.
Cuba’s Yunidis Castillo, who expressed a desire in the build-up to Rio 2016 to surpass the three sprint gold medals she won four-years ago, leapt 5.59m to take silver.
The podium was completed by Australia’s Carlee Beattie, who jumped 5.57m.
Germany’s Niko Kappel edged out world record holder Bartosz Tyszkowski by the narrowest of margins in the men’s F41 shot put final, throwing 13.57m, with his Polish rival ending 0.01m behind.
China’s Xia Zhiwei completed the podium, the 26-year-old finishing with a best throw of 12.33m.
The women’s F57 shot put title was won by Mexico’s Angeles Ortiz Hernandez, after her throw of 10.94m saw her finish ahead of the Algerian duo of Nassima Saifi and Nadia Medjmedj, who threw 10.77m and 9.92m respectively.