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News posted on Wednesday 1st September, 2021

New Zealand Paralympic Team Hāpai Kara William Stedman and Sophie Pascoe medal again for the second day in a row in Japan, with a BRONZE and a GOLD

Day 7 - Daily wrap - Tuesday, 31 August 2021 graphics tile

Highlights from Tokyo today – Day 7:

  • Sophie Pascoe makes it a trifecta of medals by winning GOLD in the Women’s 100 Freestyle S9
  • William Stedman wins his second medal in less than 24h, with BRONZE in the Men’s 400m T36
  • Blade runner Anna Steven debuts on her 21st birthday, setting a massive PB and Oceania Record
  • Hand cyclist Rory Mead and trike competitors Eltje Malzbender and Stephen Hills all get started
  • Para cycling Nicole Murray transfers her excellent track form to the road, with 6th in the Time Trials

Coming up tomorrow – Day 8:

  • GOLD medal winning Para swimmer Tupou Neiufi – Women’s 50m Freestyle S8.
  • GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE medallist Sophie Pascoe – Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9.
  • SILVER medal-winning sprinter Danielle Aitchison – Women’s 100m T36 track event.
  • Para swimmer Jesse Reynolds – Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM9.
  • Para swimmer and Rio 2016 GOLD medallist Nikita Howarth – Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB7.
  • Hand cyclist Rory Mead – Men’s H1-2 Road Race.
  • 5-time Paralympian Michael Johnson Shooting Para sport R5 Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2.


Paralympian Sophie Pascoe has won a gold medal in the pool, now her third medal and making it the trifecta at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. This followed her bronze medal swim last night in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S9.

Pascoe led at the 25m turn and took it away from there with eventual silver medallist Sarai Gascon (Spain) making a late charge in the final 10m but Pascoe touching the wall first. Pascoe’s time of 1:02.37 was 0.63 of a second ahead of Gascon. The bronze medal went to Mariana Ribeiro (Brazil) in 1:03.39.

Pascoe said: “I went into this race confident. Matt and I came up with a race plan with Roly. The race plan was to really keep the kick compact and pick up that stroke rate in that last 10, and we knew it was going to come down to that last 10. As you will have seen that is where my drop off has been. I’ve come into this meet physically and mentally ready as much as I can to be standing behind the blocks. I wanted to podium for each event but this one is very special in terms of just touching that wall. I didn’t even know where I was, I was just focussing on the black line. When I looked up it was pure amazement, I could not believe it. I’m just genuinely so happy, I’m so proud of where I have come from over the last year and a half. To come away with a gold is really special. I was just proud standing up there tonight knowing so many people have been part of this.“

Pascoe’s sporting story is well known, with her left leg amputated below the knee at age two in a lawnmower accident. She made her debut at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games securing three gold and one silver medal. Four years later?in London she continued her world class performances winning three gold and three silver medals. At her third Paralympic Games, Rio 2016, she won three gold and two silver medals.

Pascoe will be back in the pool tomorrow for Day 8 (Wednesday) in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9 and again, Day 9 (Thursday) in the Women’s 100m Butterfly.


  • William Stedman

Following an exceptional SILVER medal in the Men’s Long Jump T36 last night, less than 24 hours later William Stedman was back on the podium with a hard-fought BRONZE in the Men’s 400m T36. Stedman set a time of 54.76, just under 2 seconds adrift of gold medallist James Turner (Australia) and 1 second behind Evgenii Shvetsov (Russian Paralympic Committee), to take his medal haul to 2 at Tokyo 2020.

Stedman said: “It’s been, yeah, about 16 (hours) I think! A pretty full on last few hours, I’m so tired now! I’m really pleased with how it’s gone. It was hard, I only had probably about four hours sleep last night and so I felt really tired, and the time showed that a little bit. I’m really happy, I gave it absolutely everything, you know I had nothing left at the end of that race. That last 40 metres I was running on empty. I’m really happy with the effort I put in today!“

Stedman (Paralympian #208) was just 16 years old when he won two BRONZE medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games five years ago in the Men’s 400m T36 and the Men’s 800m T36. Stedman, who has Cerebral Palsy, has always loved sport. Attending the London 2012 Paralympic Games as a spectator at the age of 12 triggered his dream to represent New Zealand. Just three years later, Stedman competed in his first international event, the 2015 World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Brisbane. He was then chosen to represent New Zealand at the 2015 World Para Athletics Championships in Doha, where he achieved three top 10 finishes. As well as his two BRONZE medals at Rio 2016, he also placed 6th in the Long Jump T36.

William Stedman has now finished his competition in Japan and will head home to New Zealand tomorrow.

  • Anna Steven

Blade runner Anna Steven made her Paralympic debut today, which also happens to be her 21st birthday! She had an outstanding start to her day, setting a massive PB (personal best) and breaking the Oceania Record with a time of 28.60 in the Women’s 200m T64 Round 1 Heats, just over 2 seconds behind the fastest qualifier. She qualified 5th fastest and went through to the finals, where she placed 8th in a time of 28.88 in an extremely fast field. Gold was won by Marlene van Gansewinkel (Netherlands) setting a new Paralympic record, with the silver going to Irmgard Bensusan (Germany) and bronze to Kimberly Alkemade (Netherlands).

Steven said: “It is so surreal to have my first Paralympic experience and extra special to be making my debut on my birthday. I’m really stoked to have got an Oceania record and a massive PB in the heats this morning and then to make a final as well is just brilliant. I’ll take the experience today of being in the stadium and getting out the initial nerves of racing into my next race. I’m just fizzing to get going in the 100 and see what happens.“

At age 13, Anna Steven had six months of chemotherapy and major surgery that led to the amputation of her leg. When Anna first began to run, she saw an opportunity to become a national-level athlete and push her limits, but also inspire others living with disability to get involved in sport. She began running competitively in 2016 when she was 16 years old. She had been inspired after seeing the performances of the New Zealand Paralympic Team at Rio 2016, particularly Paralympian #197 Liam Malone, a fellow Kiwi blade runner. Then, after meeting Liam at a ‘welcome home’ event and attending an Open Day event for Para sport, one of the support staff suggested Anna try Para athletics, and she decided to give it a go.

Steven will be back on Day 9 (Thursday) in the Women’s 100m T64 Round 1 Heats and if qualifying, will run in the Women’s 100m T64 Final on Day 10 (Friday).


The New Zealand Para cycling team was out in full force on the road today, as they took on Fuji International Speedway for the first time. Nicole Murray, Anna Taylor and Sarah Ellington all made the transition from the Velodrome, after strong debut performances last week. Hand cyclist Rory Mead and trike competitors Eltje Malzbender and Stephen Hills (Paralympian #196) all made their first appearances at Tokyo 2020.

  • Anna Taylor

First out on the road was Anna Taylor in the Women’s C4 Time Trial, fresh from setting a Paralympic Record in Day 1 qualifying on the track. Her luck did not continue, crashing on the final lap and registering a DNF. Gold was won by Shawn Morelli (USA), followed by Emily Petricola (Australia) and Meg Lemon (Australia).

A former able-bodied rower, Taylor rides in the C4 classification after sustaining a prolapsed disc in 2016, which compressed her spinal cord and resulted in Acute Cauda Equina Syndrome and loss of muscle power. Having survived thyroid cancer back in 2011, Taylor took this challenge in her stride, and began Para cycling in early 2018.

Taylor will be back out in the Women’s C4-5 Road Race on Day 9 (Thursday).

  • Sarah Ellington

Sarah Ellington was up next, finishing 10th in the Women’s C1-3 Time Trial. The race was won by Keiko Sugiura (Japan), with Anna Beck (Sweden) in silver and Paige Greco (Australia) in the bronze position.

Ellington said: “The race was amazing. It was really hot out there, but it was good to finally get out there and race to the best I could. It (the course) was good, it was a little bit technical as well, some flats and some fast downhills, so it was a good kind of a good mixture for everyone.

“The experience of Tokyo is amazing, it’s great to just finally be here, to experience the whole games and to come this far is amazing. A message for back home is just that I thank everyone for their support, I know a lot of people would have loved to be here, but I can feel all the love and support from back home and, please, keep it coming right to the end!“

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.

Ellington competes in the C2 classification and will be back in her final race on Day 10 (Friday), competing in the Women’s C1-3 Road Race.

  • Nicole Murray

Nicole Murray was out on the road shortly after, delivering a great race to finish 6th in the Women’s Time C5 Time Trial. The gold went to Paralympic legend, Dame Sarah Storey (Great Britain), with compatriot Crystal Lane-Wright (Great Britain) taking the silver and Kerstin Brachtendorf (Germany) in bronze.

Murray said: “It’s pretty unreal, it’s such a fun course. It’s so cool going round the corners, just the sound from the speed you get, it’s awesome! Pretty hot though. Nice day for it, at least the rain held off. And 6th is cool! Pretty happy with that time, it’s not my main focus, it’s not my main race so, yeah pretty happy with that.

“Thank you so much for the support from everyone, like people I haven’t even spoken to for years, it’s just totally unreal. I don’t even know how to react, I’m blown away, it’s amazing!“

Murray has a limb deficiency (left wrist), so rides with adaptations to her handlebars of her bike. Her impairment is an acquired one, following a lawnmower accident at the age of just 5.

Murray will be back on the road for the Women’s C4-5 Road Race on Day 9 (Thursday).

  • Rory Mead

Paralympic debutant, hand cyclist Rory Mead, delivered a strong performance in the Men’s H2 Time Trial race. He finished 5th, with the gold going to Sergio Garrotte Munoz (Spain) followed by Luca Mazzone (Italy) in silver, with Florian Jouanny (France) taking the bronze.

Mead said: “It feels awesome to get the first event out the way and break some of the nerves off, but man, it was tough out there, that course as really hard to pace with it being so up and down. I definitely struggled but learnt a lot – and had a blast!

“Hopefully I will have a good show (tomorrow) in the road race and keep up with that front group. I know those hills are going to be tough but if I can hang in there that’ll be good. The conditions were actually perfect today, with the cloud cover and temperature’s not scorching. I don’t think we could have asked for a better morning.

“Thanks to everyone who’s behind me. It’s so great being here representing New Zealand, I can’t thank you guys enough!“

Mead made his international debut in the New Zealand Para Cycling Team at the 2018 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships, producing solid results against strong competition. These include finishing 4th in the Men’s H2 Time Trial, and 5th in the Men’s H2 Road Race. Based in the USA, Mead was a Motocross champion and was competing in the sport he loved when he sustained a spinal cord injury back in 2014.

Mead will be back on Day 8 (Wednesday), competing in the Men’s H1-2 Road Race.

  • Eltje Malzbender

Trike competitor Eltje Malzbender had an exceptional Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020, finishing 5th in a highly competitive Women’s T1-2 Time Trial. The race was won by Jana Maljunke (Germany) with silver going to Carol Cooke (Australia) and the bronze being taken by Angelika Dreock Kaeser (Germany).

Malzbender said: “I’m quite relieved to finally get going (at Tokyo 2020). In a way, I’m absolutely proud that I had a good start for my new home country, but I was hoping for a better result. But I couldn’t do it! I did my best, but that was obviously not enough!“

Eltje Malzbender was left for dead after a hit and run, coming back from a coma that was classified as the lowest survivable outcome. She now lives with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) meaning she has challenges with many aspects of mobility and life: ataxia, sudden involuntary movement of limbs, lack of balance, coordination, no proprioception (the ability to sense movement). She was left unable to speak and patiently re-learned it. She was left with no short-term memory, double vision, and other mental and physical problems. Despite doctors’ scepticism, she was introduced to riding a tricycle. Malzbender was selected on the HPSNZ Pathway to Podium programme with Paralympics New Zealand in 2018 and in 2019 won two rainbow jerseys and gold medals at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships to qualify for Tokyo.

Malzbender will be back in her second event on Day 9 (Thursday) in the Women’s T1-2 Road Race.

  • Stephen Hills

Paralympian #196 returned for his second consecutive Paralympic Games, after debuting at Rio 2016. Competing on the trike in the Men’s T1-2 Time Trial, Hills finished 8th overall. The gold was won by Jianxin Chen (China), followed by Giorgio Farroni (Italy) in silver, with Tim Celen (Belgium) taking out the bronze.

Hills said: “It was hard work! It was a prettyfast course, but a lot of hard work to get through the whole course. There were quite a few technical places that I found pretty difficult, especially getting around those sharp corners.

“It’s amazing (to be here). To be able to be racing for New Zealand is a great honour. I really want to say thank you for my family and friends, for their support. Thanks to all my cycling buddies!“

Stephen Hills has right side hemiplegia, causing muscle weakness and partial paralysis on the right side of his body, which he developed at age 5, after he was hit by a motorbike as he crossed the road to catch the bus. Hills switched from competing on a two-wheeled bike, to a trike, in hopes of creating more opportunity for success in Para cycling competitions. That certainly was the case when Hills placed 8th in both the Men’s T1-2 Road Time Trial and Men’s T1-2 Road Race at Rio 2016, only two years after starting. Hills won a bronze medal in the Men’s Road Race T2 at the 2019 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships.

Hills will be back on the road on Day 9 (Thursday) competing in the Men’s T1-2 Road Race.

What’s on tomorrow – Day 8:

  • GOLD medal winning Para swimmer Tupou Neiufi – Women’s 50m Freestyle S8.
  • GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE medallist Sophie Pascoe – Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9.
  • SILVER medal-winning sprinter Danielle Aitchison – Women’s 100m T36 track event.
  • Para swimmer Jesse Reynolds – Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM9.
  • Para swimmer and Rio 2016 GOLD medallist Nikita Howarth – Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB7.
  • Hand cyclist Rory Mead – Men’s H1-2 Road Race.
  • 5-time Paralympian Michael Johnson Shooting Para sport R5 Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2.
Para sportEventAthleteNZ Time *
Para swimmingWomen’s 100m Breaststroke – SB7 – HeatNikita Howarth12.00 noon
Para cyclingMen’s H1-2 Road Race – FinalRory Mead12.35
Para swimmingMen’s 200m Ind. Medley – SM9 – HeatJesse Reynolds12.51
Para swimmingWomen’s 200m Ind. Medley – SM9 – HeatSophie Pascoe13.00
Para swimmingWomen’s 50m Freestyle – S8 – HeatTupou Neiufi13.38
Para athleticsWomen’s 100m – T36 – HeatDanielle Aitchison14.15
Shooting Para sportR5 – Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2 – QualifierMichael Johnson14.30
Shooting Para sportR5 – Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2 – Potential FinalMichael Johnson16.45
Para swimmingWomen’s 100m Breaststroke – SB7 – Potential Final (if qualified)Nikita Howarth20.07
Para swimmingMen’s 200m Ind. Medley – SM9 – Potential Final (if qualified)Jesse Reynolds21.31
Para swimmingWomen’s 200m Ind. Medley – SM9 – Potential FinalSophie Pascoe21.39
Para athleticsWomen’s 100m – T36 – Potential Final (if qualified)Danielle Aitchison22.10
Para swimmingWomen’s 50m Freestyle – S8 – Potential FinalTupou Neiufi22.36

* Please note race times are subject to change by organisers, with limited advance notice.

Broadcast information:

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 TVNZ flagship programmes, including Breakfast and Seven Sharp, are expected to cover the Paralympics. Find out more:

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