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News posted on Friday 27th August, 2021

Silver for Sophie Pascoe on Day 2 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, as the Wheel Blacks took on Great Britain in their second pool match

Day 2 - Daily wrap - Thursday, 26 August 2021 tile

Highlights from Tokyo – Day 2: 

  • Sophie Pascoe starts her Tokyo 2020 campaign in spectacular fashion 
  • Barney Koneferenisi top scorer again for the Wheel Blacks, with 11 points against Great Britain 

Para swimming 

New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian, 9x time gold medallist Sophie Pascoe, got her Tokyo 2020 campaign underway in spectacular fashion today, winning silver in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB8. Pascoe went into the event ranked 3rd in the world. She set a blistering pace and took the lead from the start against old rival and friend Ellen Keane from Ireland. Keane went onto steal back the lead in the last 10 metres narrowly taking gold in a time of 1:19.93. Pascoe with a time of 1:20.23 for silver was some way ahead of bronze medallist Adelina Razetdinova (RPC) who clocked 1:24.77. 

Early in the day Pascoe set the second fastest time in qualifying heats, clocking 1:21.75, a split second behind Ellen Keane (Ireland) touching the wall at 1:21.71. Pascoe was relaxed throughout, and it was clear she conserved energy ahead of the final later in the evening.  

Pascoe said: “I’m so ecstatic. Originally, I was not going to race this event at the Paralympics, it was a last minute entry. The reasoning behind it was to get me into race mode and blow the cobwebs out before my four favoured events that are coming up in three days time. I came in ranked third, breaststroke is not my favourite event. It is Ellen’s favoured event and all power to her she got me in that last 10 metres and that is where it really hurt. I gave it absolutely everything and really tapped into my inner mindset but it was not quite enough to get the gold. I’m just stoked to get a silver medal at the Paralympics in Tokyo. It was an unexpected result from an unexpected event. This is a silver medal for my country and I will stand up on that podium with pride.“  

Today is the first of five events Pascoe will compete in across the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She will compete in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S9 on Day 6; the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 on Day 7; the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9 on Day 8; and finally, the Women’s 100m Butterfly S9 on Day 9. 

Paralympian #166 Sophie Pascoe is the most decorated New Zealand Paralympian in history, having won 15 Paralympic medals, including 9 gold. Her 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 went on to win three gold and two silver medals. Tokyo 2020 will be Pascoe’s fourth Games. Read more.

Wheelchair rugby 

The Wheel Blacks were back on court late in the evening New Zealand time, taking on world number 4, Great Britain, in their second match in Pool B. While they continue to relish their long-awaited return to the Paralympic Games, it was another tough game for the Wheel Blacks, losing 60-37 to a Great Britain side ranked 4th in the world.  

Great Britain got off to a flying start, leading 17-5 at the end of the first quarter. The Wheel Blacks found their rhythm in the second quarter, with greater pass completion and some big hits from Hayden Barton-Cootes and continued to fight hard throughout the second half in an attempt to reduce Great Britain’s lead.   

Barney Koneferenisi was top scorer again, repeating his stellar form from the day before, with 11 tries.  

Their final pool game is against 5th ranked Canada tomorrow night.  

Everson said: “I had a lot of fun today. We found the first quarter a little bit tough and we were a bit shocked. But I think when we got into that huddle to come out for the second quarter we were positive, we said we were going keep our eyes up, stay confident. I think we did that and we were a lot better side from the second quarter.“  

He continued: “We had to stay positive and just trust the process. We came in with a plan and that plan wasn’t working so we adjusted and as the quarters went on we got better and better. I feel like the team has improved from yesterday and we have a lot to take into tomorrow. We still need to pick up our starts but we are improving in other ways and II think that is something that is going to come naturally. Everyone should be proud of their efforts today as we all put in our 100 and that is all we wanted was to try our best and that is what we are doing.” 

Greg Mitchell (coach) said: “Another tough day at the office. We just did not match that heat early on to keep us in the game early which made it tough and you feel like you are chasing from that point. We did change things up and we got a few more passes matching and get more space.“  

On Day 1, the Wheel Blacks played World number 2, the USA, putting up a plucky fight but falling 63-35. Tomorrow they will play Canada in their final pool match, to determine who goes through the semi-finals.  

The Wheel Blacks finished 11th at the 2018 World Championships and last played internationally in 2019 when they finished 3rd at the Asia Oceania Wheelchair Rugby Championships, qualifying for Tokyo. All 8 squad members are made their Paralympic debut today. Whilst it is their first Paralympic Games, the majority of the squad has been competing together for over a decade. 

Captain Cody Everson, Hayden Barton-Cootes, Tainafi Lefono, Robert Hewitt, Gareth Lynch and Gavin Rolton all have spinal cord injuries. Barney Koneferenisi has a limb deficiency and Mike Todd, muscle degeneration. Whilst absent from the last two Paralympic Games, a gold medal at Athens 2004 and a bronze at Sydney 2000 demonstrate the Wheel Blacks legacy this team is looking to reignite in Tokyo.  

What’s on today – Day 3: 

Day 3 sees Tupou Neiufi (Paralympian #201) take to the pool for her first event – the Women’s 100m Backstroke S8. Neiufi was just 15 years old when she debuted at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, placing 7th in the S9 classification of this event. Most recently Tupou competed at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, competing in front of huge audiences she placed 6th in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S9. In 2019, she won Silver in the Women’s 100 m Backstroke S8 at the World Para Swimming Championships. 

Our Para cyclists, Anna Taylor and Nicole Murray, are back in action on the track for the Women’s C4-5 500m Time Trial, following an outstanding Day 1 with a Paralympic record for Taylor in qualifying and a bronze ride-off for Murray. The Time Trial runs 13.00 – 19.30 NZT with qualifications and finals run together. 

The Wheelchair rugby Pool Phase continues with New Zealand taking on Canada. This is the final match of the pool phases, with Wheel Blacks having taken on both the USA and Great Britain this week. 

Day 3 also sees Para athletics getting underway with Paralympic debutant Ben Tuimaseve, taking to the Olympic Stadium to compete in the Men’s Shot Put F37 field event. Tuimaseve has been in impressive form across 2021, producing successive national record-breaking performances over the summer season. 

With New Zealand competing across four Para sports and four venues, Day 3 promises plenty!  

SportEventAthleteNZ Time *
Para cycling – trackWomen’s C4-5 500m Time Trial FinalAnna Taylor5.29pm
Para cycling – trackWomen’s C4-5 500m Time Trial FinalNicole Murray5.29pm
Para swimmingWomen’s 100m Backstroke – S8 FinalTupou Neiufi8.21pm
Wheelchair rugbyMixed – Pool Phase Group B, New Zealand vs CanadaWheel Blacks11.00pm
Para athleticsMen’s Shot Put – F37 FinalBen Tuimaseve10.53pm

* 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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