Paralympics roundup: Brazil defeat Argentina to claim five-a-side gold

Brazil have won gold in the men’s football five-a-side tournament with a 1-0 victory over Argentina in the final. They remain the only team to have won the sport since it was introduced to the Games in 2004.

The winner was an absolutely cracking finish from Raimundo Mendes, his sixth goal in Tokyo. Brazil went through the whole of the Paralympic tournament without conceding a single goal. Morocco beat China 4-0 in the bronze medal match to earn the country’s first Paralympic medal outside of athletics at these Games.

Paralympics GB enjoyed a dominant final Saturday at the Sea Forest Waterway as they took two of the five gold medals available, and also secured a silver and bronze medal in the paracanoeing events.

Charlotte Henshaw had switched to paracanoe after previously winning bronze and silver medals as a swimmer at the London and Rio Games, and it paid dividends as she won her first gold medal in the women’s kayak single 200m KL2.

She beat British compatriot and defending champion Emma Wiggs into second place. Wiggs finished 0.649 seconds behind Henshaw, having won gold in the women’s Va’a singles 200m op Vrydag. Hungary’s Katalin Varga claimed bronze.

“It’s amazing. I feel a real sense of gratitude that I got the opportunity that I was able to race for this medal,” Henshaw said afterwards. “I think the first and biggest thanks needs to go to Japan for putting on an incredible Games in such difficult circumstances, and allowing us to showcase our hard work from over the last five years.”

There was a second British gold and first-ever medal for Laura Sugar, who won the women’s kayak single KL3 200m. As a track athlete she finished fifth in the women’s T44 200m final in Rio, but she switched to paracanoe in 2018. The 30-year-old finished nearly two seconds ahead of France’s Nelia Barbosa.

There was a bronze medal for Stuart Wood in the men’s Va’a VL3 final, in a race won by Australia’s double-gold medallist Curtis McGrath. The British canoeists won seven medals on the water in total, including three golds, making them the most successful paracanoe team in Tokyo.

Daniel Bethell earned silver and Britain’s first ever Paralympic badminton medal after losing his gold medal match 2-0 to India’s Pramod Bhagat. The sport is being played at a Paralympics for the first time. It was a repeat of the 2019 World Championship final in which 25-year-old Bethell also ended up with silver. Britain’s Krysten Coombs lost his semi-final in the men’s singles SH6 competition, and will now play Vitor Gonçales Tavares of Brazil for the bronze medal on Sunday.

In the archery, the British pair of David Phillips and Hazel Chaisty reached the quarter-finals of the mixed team recurve, but were comprehensively beaten 6-0 by Zahra Nemati and Gholamreza Rahimi of Iran. The gold medal eventually went to the athletes from the Russian Paralympic Committee. The men’s sitting volleyball title went to Iran, and there were gold medals in the boccia pairs competitions for Slovakia, South Korea and Thailand.

The women from the Netherlands won gold in the wheelchair basketball, with a 50-31 victory over China at the Ariake Arena. Earlier the US clinched the bronze medal match with a 64-51 defeat of Germany. Australia finished placed fifth after a 74-58 win over Turkey.

In ander nuus, British sprinter Jonnie Peacock has called for equal pay for para-athletes, saying that disabled athletes are being included in publicity for athletic meets, but not being paid anything like that of their counterparts. “Meet organisers are going: ‘Aren’t we great for equality having a race on? But you should be grateful that you have a race so don’t dare come and ask for prize money.’”

“I would love to see equal pay,” Peacock added. “That would be the next step. We have Lottery funding but British sport needs to recognise the value that Paralympic and disabled athletes bring.”

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