Anna Grimaldi wins GOLD and defends her Rio 2016 Paralympic title and Holly Robinson wins GOLD achieving a dream in Tokyo
Highlights from Tokyo today – Day 10:
- Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Anna Grimaldi wins GOLD again in the Women’s Long Jump T47
- Scott Martlew narrowly misses a podium, finishing 4th in the Men’s Kayak Single 200m KL2
- Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist Holly Robinson wins gold in the Women’s Javelin F46
Coming up in Tokyo tomorrow – Day 11 (final day of competition):
- The last day of competition for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games sees Scott Martlew compete in the Para canoe Men’s Va’a Single 200m VL3 semifinals and finals (pending qualification)
- Michael Johnson’s fifth Paralympic Games campaign wraps up with his final event – the R9 Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH2
- Lisa Adams will be our final Paralympian to feature at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, competing in the Women’s Discus Throw F38
Paralympian Anna Grimaldi (#195) made Paralympic history for New Zealand today, winning back-to-back GOLD medals in the Women’s Long Jump T47. She took an unassailable lead on her first jump, setting a Paralympic record. After that she never looked back, breaking her own record again just three jumps later.
Grimaldi jumped into the public consciousness five years ago at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, winning the event on Day 1, much to her surprise. Her reaction and celebration after her win is etched into the minds of many. At Tokyo 2020, as she described it herself: “Rio, I won by accident. This time I did it on purpose!“
- Anna Grimaldi
Anna Grimaldi is now a double Paralympic champion, winning GOLD in the Women’s Long Jump T47 this afternoon in Tokyo and repeating the same feat from Rio 2016, five years ago. She led from the very first jump, setting a Paralympic record of 5.74cm, before bettering this jump to 5.76cm on her fourth attempt. From there she was unbeatable, holding a 9cm lead. The silver went to Aleksandra Moguchaia (Russian Paralympic Committee) with a jump of 5.67cm and bronze to Kiara Rodriguez (Ecuador) with 5.63cm.
Grimaldi said: “I don’t even know how I feel, I think I’m just in a whirlwind. There’s been so much that’s gone into this campaign over the past five years. I owe a lot to a lot of people, and I hope that I did them proud out there. I did myself proud!
“The weather wasn’t ideal, but we got stuck in and it’s been a huge five years and I just feel like the weight of the world has just lifted off my shoulders. This is the most nervous I have been for a competition before. Throughout the entire competition I felt like I was going to throw up I was so nervous. So, I think to finish today with my name on top, it’s just pretty surreal.
“The plan was to go in, not with a safe jump, but to make sure I didn’t foul my first jump. I’m stoked that I didn’t because it sort of lets you relax a little bit. But in saying that I was not that calm! The last couple of weeks have been pretty tough and I’ve been pretty nervous, the doubts creeped in, the stress creeped in, the confidence dwindled but I was super lucky to have people around me that were able to support that. My partner, my family, friends and high performance support staff, my mental skills trainer, the team psychologist. I mean it’s been a roller coaster five years, but also a roller coaster last four weeks.
“I’m super proud, I think Rio I won by accident and this time I did it on purpose and I think that’s sort of how I feel, there’s been so much that has gone into this one. I’ve learned a lot; I’ve changed a lot as a person. And I hope that was obvious out there to people watching how different I was to Rio. I’m really proud!“
Anna Grimaldi (Paralympian #195) is already known to kiwis for her gold medal winning moment at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the Women’s Long Jump T47. Grimaldi struggled at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championship in London from a lingering foot injury. After 2 years of medical care and rehabilitation she was back on the podium, winning silver in the Women’s Long Jump T47 at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships. During the 2021 summer season, Grimaldi achieved four personal bests, taking her within 10cm of the world record. Grimaldi has a congenital single limb deficiency.
- Holly Robinson
Rio 2016 silver medallist Holly Robinson has now become a Paralympic gold medallist tonight in the Women’s Javelin F46. Robinson took to the field in Tokyo for the first time tonight along with her long time competitor Holly Arnold (Great Britain). She threw consistently throughout the evening and left us all in suspense as she stepped up to take her final throw and threw a gold medal winning 40.99m
The silver medal was won by Noelle Roorda (Netherlands) throwing 39.26 and bronze to Holly Arnold (Great Britain) throwing 39.73. Robinson’s world record of 45.73m set in 2019 was not challenged tonight in Tokyo.
Robinson said: “I feel relieved at the moment. Honestly that last throw I couldn’t quite believe it. And realising in that moment that was the gold medal, it is just something I have wanted for so long and it is finally here. I’m so happy and so proud of myself and my team for helping me get here. I have so many times in competitions thrown good throws got up to number one and then been beaten. So I was just waiting for that last throw to go and once it was gone it is just a moment you never forgot. I just want to thank everyone that has helped me get here. My friends, family, my partners, my coach Raylene I couldn’t have done this without those people.
I’ve been fighting and fighting for this for so long, comps of late have not gone that well for me and then we had COVID hit. Getting that gold means a lot because we have worked so hard to get it. Today I don’t really think the distance reflected where I’m at or what I am capable of. I’m really proud of myself for bringing it out on the last round and managing to get that gold.
Robinson referred to Anna Grimaldi’s success earlier in the day saying “go Dunedin, and Hokitika as that is where I am from. We have the same team behind us through High Performance Sport NZ and they have helped to get us to where we are. We can’t wait to get home and celebrate with those people that have helped us to get here today.“
Holly Robinson (Paralympian #183) made her Paralympic debut in London 2012, going on to be named flag bearer for the New Zealand Paralympic Team at the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. At Rio 2016, she won a silver medal in the Women’s Javelin F46. She then went on to win silver at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and has consistently medalled at international events, since. Tokyo 2020 will be her third Paralympic Games. In March 2021, Robinson wrote herself into the record books when she became the first Para athlete to win a medal in an open event at the New Zealand Track & Field Championships, taking silver in the Women’s Javelin. Robinson has a single limb deficiency.
Rio 2016 gold medallist Nikita Howarth was back in the pool today for her second and final event of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Women’s 50m Butterfly S7. After qualifying eighth fastest in the heats earlier today, the pressure was on for tonight’s final. Howarth got off to an incredibly fast start and was commended by the commentators on her ‘strong underwater game’. With the eventual gold medallist way out in front, Howarth was in a battle for silver or bronze most of the race but faded as the wall approached. She finished 6th in a time of 36.92. Danielle Dorriss (Canada) took the gold in a World Record time of 32.99, with the silver going to Mallory Weggemann (USA) with 34.30 and bronze to Guilia Terzi (Italy) on 34.32.
Howarth had already finished a narrow 4th in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB7 Final earlier these Paralympics. Her preparation for Tokyo 2020 was hampered by a broken arm fourth months out, but she had medical clearance to compete. Howarth has now completed her Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games campaign.
Howarth said: “Think the final was better, I wasn’t as stressed out as the heat. My heat time was absolutely horrible so to jump a couple of places up was quite nice.
“It was a very fast race. I haven’t seen a girl like her perform, I mean, she’s similar to me (impairment-wise), but she must be doing something else in training, its amazing.
I think the campaign was alright (in light of my broken arm). I think mistakes were made but hopefully we will be better next time and I’ve just got to keep training for it and hopefully my arm repairs soon!“
Howarth is a Rio 2016 gold medallist in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM7 and bronze medallist in the Women’s 50m Butterfly S7. She started swimming competitively at 7 and in 2012, at the age of 13, Howarth became the youngest person to represent New Zealand at a Paralympic Games. She described competing in front of 17,000 fans at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as “overwhelming“ but nonetheless was 6th in the 200m Individual Medley SM7. Howarth has double below elbow limb deficiency.
PARA CYCLING – ROAD
Another Paralympian finishing up her campaign in Japan today was Para cyclist, Sarah Ellington. Ellington crossed the line 12th in the Women’s C1-3 Road Race, after another day beset by heavy rain at the Fuji International Speedway. The Paralympic debutant has competed in three events across these Games, finishing 11th in the Women’s C1-3 3000m Individual Pursuit in the Velodrome, before moving to the road, where she finished 10th in the Women’s C1-3 Time Trial and 12th in today’s Women’s C1-3 Road Race.
Ellington said: “The race course is really good as it’s on a speedway so it was really technical and quite smooth in parts. On the open roads there was quite a lot of downhill so it was easy to recover. It was a little bit wet today and a little bit cooler than what we were hoping for so it made the race a bit slower and cautious. And there was quite a lot of hills that naturally split up the group.
“I don’t think I have really digested this whole experience yet probably when I get to MIQ I will take in the whole experience. But is has definitely been amazing to finally be here especially with that extra year.“
Ellington has an acquired impairment, after sustaining a spinal cord injury falling out of a tree in 2015. Her impairment, incomplete paraplegia, has resulted in weak leg muscles and restricted ankle movement, and she had to learn to walk again. she had the honour of being the first of 18 Para athletes debuting at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games amongst 18 debutants in the 31-strong New Zealand Paralympic Team.
- Scott Martlew
Scott Martlew (Paralympian #198) finished a very narrow 4th in the final of the Men’s Kayak Single 200m KL2 today at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo today, after winning his heat in dominant fashion yesterday. Today he set a time of 42.880, with the gold medal going to Curtis McGrath (Australia) in a time of 41.426, followed by Mykola Syniuk (Ukraine) in a time of 42.503 and Federico Mancarella (Italy) on 42.574.
Martlew said: “Obviously a little bit disappointed in 4th, but still proud of how I went, I gave it all. Proud of the journey to get here and I want to thank everyone for all their support and just blown away by all the support form back home, yeah, it’s been really cool.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and the racing, I’ve gotten to know the conditions out there a bit more and so I’ll take that into tomorrow and it give it my all again. It’ll be good!“
Active in a range of paddle sports as a youngster, Scott Martlew took up kayaking at the age of 16 dreaming of one day making the Olympics. However, the following year he sustained a tear to his left quadriceps playing rugby. The tear became infected with a flesh-eating bacteria and his leg had to be amputated in order to save his life. In the wake of his life changing circumstances, Martlew readjusted his goals. He moved into Para canoe racing and made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There competing in the KL3 200m he finished a highly respectable eighth place on debut. He was reclassified in 2018 as a KL2 (a classification for athletes with a more severe disability). At the 2018 World Championships, Martlew made a major impact; winning a KL2 200m silver to climb the podium for the first time on the global stage. In 2019, he concluded a highly successful year by winning KL2 200m World Championships bronze.
Martlew is back tomorrow for his last event, the semis and finals of the Men’s Va’a Single 200m Heat VL3.
- Corbin Hart
Corbin Hart was back on the water for the second day in a row today, racing in the Men’s Kayak Single 200m KL3 Semifinals. Hart finished 5th, taking him through to Final B, where he also finished 5th in a time of 44.182. The gold was won in Final A by Serhii Yemelianov (Ukraine) in a time of 40.355, with Leonid Krylov (Russian Paralympic Committee) in silver with 40.464 and Robert Oliver (Great Britain) in bronze on 41.268.
Hart said: “It’s a whole lot of mixed feelings, all the things, you know. It’s pretty unreal to think that I’ve done this within a years’ time, so I look forward to the future. Another three years, building toward Paris, which is looking very promising!
“(Today) wasn’t the best. I had a bit of a technical difficulty with my leg, it got jammed at the front of my seat, so I had to slow up and try and unjam it and carry on, so I kind of had to catch back up and get 5th. Its not bad. I’m pretty happy with how my semi went and it was probably the best performance I have ever had. You win some you lose some!“
Corbin Hart has enjoyed a meteoric rise to his first Paralympic Games. A surf lifesaving enthusiast in his youth – in late-2019 he lost his right leg in a civil road accident. Choosing to adopt a positive in July 2020, he acted on the advice of friend Caitlin Regal, the four-time World Championship canoe sprint medallist, to give kayaking a go. Last October – just three months after he first sat in a kayak – Corbin made his competitive debut at the Blue Lake 1 regatta in Rotorua. There he impressed to win the Division 2 K1 500m A Final and finish second in the K1 200m A Final. Intending to focus his efforts on qualifying for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games, Corbin instead switched his emphasis on trying to make the team for Tokyo on the recommendation of Leigh Barker, coach to fellow New Zealand Paralympic Team member Scott Martlew. He then headed to Szeged, Hungary in May 2021, where he managed to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
Coming up in Tokyo tomorrow – Day 11 (final day of competition):
- The last day of competition for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games sees Scott Martlew compete in the Para canoe Men’s Va’a Single 200m VL3 semifinals and finals.
- Michael Johnson’s fifth Paralympic Games campaign wraps up with his final event – the R9 Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH2.
- Lisa Adams will be our final Para athlete to feature at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, competing in the Women’s Discus Throw F38.
|Para sport||Event||Athlete||NZ Time *|
|Para Canoe||Men’s VL3 Semifinals||Scott Martlew||1.19pm|
|Para Canoe||Men’s VL3 Final (pending qualification)||Scott Martlew||2.48pm|
|Shooting Para sport||R9 – Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH2 Qualification||Michael Johnson||3.30pm|
|Shooting Para sport||R9 – Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH2 Finals (pending qualification)||Michael Johnson||5.45pm|
|Para athletics||Women’s Discus Throw – F38 Final||Lisa Adams||10.35pm|
* Please note race times are subject to change by organisers, with limited advance notice.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be broadcast in Aotearoa New Zealand. Viewers can catch the action as it happens, non-stop from midday, every day on TVNZ DUKE (Freeview 13, Sky 23 and live streamed, TVNZ OnDemand) together with extensive delayed and highlights coverage. Along with 1 NEWS coverage, a special highlights programme will air every morning at 9am on TVNZ 1 and will be available online via TVNZ OnDemand and AttitudeLive.com. TVNZ flagship programmes, including Breakfast and Seven Sharp, are expected to cover the Paralympics. Find out more: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/paralympics/schedule
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