Paralympic wake-up call: Canada strikes gold on penultimate day of competition


On the penultimate day of Paralympic competition in Tokyo, Canada’s Nate Riech brought the heat in the teeming rain to win gold.  

The 26-year-old from Victoria, B.C., had a commanding win in the men’s T38 1,500-metre final by posting a time of three minutes 58.92 seconds — a Paralympic record in his first Games.

After the first minute-and-a-half of the race, the Canadian split off from the pack, creating an enormous gap between him and the competition. Riech slowed as he crossed the finish line, clenched his fists and let out a tremendous yell that resonated on the broadcast.

The Paralympian in second place was nearly five seconds behind him. Riech’s gold makes it 21 medals for Canada. 

WATCH | Canada’s Nate Riech dominates for gold:

Canada’s Nate Riech runs to gold in Paralympic debut

The world record holder and Victoria, B.C. native captured gold in Paralympic record time of 3:58.92 in the men’s T38 1,500m final. 10:11

Canadian Liam Stanley, a T37 athlete — competing with a higher degree of impairment in comparison to athletes of T38 classification or higher — was also in the race. Stanley, who was on the heels of a bronze medal for a time, finished in fifth place while setting a Paralympic record for athletes in the T37 classification.

Their event stands among the final ones being contested by Canadians in Tokyo. Brent Lakatos, recently announced as Canada’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony, will compete for one more medal ahead of the Paralympic flame being extinguished.

As the Games wind down, here’s what you might have missed on Saturday at Tokyo 2020.

Canada claims 4th in sitting volleyball 

Canada’s women’s sitting volleyball team finished in fourth place in its second appearance at the Games. Canada’s best-ever result came with a hard loss to Brazil, who captured bronze for a second time in a row. 

The Canadian women were fired up on the court, often building scoring momentum where the team absolutely shone. But Brazil took the victory 3-1 (25-15, 24-26, 26-24, 25-14), as well as the final spot on the podium.

Canada plays Brazil in the bronze medal match of the women’s sitting volleyball tournament at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The Canadians played with drive and passion, as the hunt for the country’s first Paralympic medal in the sport continues.

Athletes chase Golden Slam

Australia’s Dylan Alcott, the defending champion, has won a gold medal in quad tennis, and will next head to New York in chase of the “Golden Slam.”

Alcott, 30, has already won the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon. Capturing the U.S. Open would give him all four major titles, plus a Paralympic gold — also know as a Golden Slam.

Australia’s Dylan Alcott plays a backhand during the quad singles gold medal match against Sam Schroder of the Netherlands in Tokyo. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

On the women’s side, Diede de Groot of the Netherlands, 24, will seek the same accomplishment. She won Paralympic gold on Friday to ensure the dream stays alive.

Diede De Groot of the Netherlands in action during her match against Jordanne Whiley of Britain in women’s singles wheelchair tennis. (Molly Darlington/Reuters)

Winning gold with mom

When Korea won the gold medal in the BC3 boccia pairs event, two of the teammates had their mothers by their sides. 

Choi Yejin, Kim Hansoo, and Jeong Howon round out the Korean team. In the BC3 events, assistants help the athletes, who have significant limitations in the movement of their limbs, with devices like ramps. The assistants aren’t allowed to look at the court, but receive medals as well. 

Choi and Kim both were assisted by their mothers at the tournament. Korea is taking home the gold after a tie-breaker against Japan.

Flag-bearer Yejin Choi of Team Republic of Korea leads her delegation in the parade of athletes during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

A day of firsts

The first-ever Para badminton gold was won by Cheah Liek Hou of Malaysia on Saturday, who collapsed onto the court in celebration after the final point of his straight-sets victory.

“I feel really great. I released all of my stress and tension, I released everything just now. I tried my best. I was really focused on the match and I deserved the win today,” the six-time world champion said.

Cheah Liek Hou of Malaysia in action during the Tokyo Paralympic men’s SU5 singles badminton tournament. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Meanwhile, the first gold in the 4×100-metre universal relay went to the U.S. team of Noah Malone, Brittni Mason, Nick Mayhugh and Tatyana McFadden.

All four athletes are in different classifications; teams include a visually impaired athlete, an athlete with a limb impairment, an athlete with a coordination impairment and a wheelchair racer.  

Americans Brittni Mason, Noah Malone, Tatyana McFadden, and Nick Mayhugh celebrate gold in the 4×100-metre universal relay final. (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)

Read more at CBC.ca