Paralympic Games Day 1: Australian Men Claim Three Gold Medals; World Record for Zhdanov

Photo Courtesy: Australian Paralympic Committee

It was a gold rush for the Australian men during the first day of the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The Aussie men claimed three gold medals and two bronze medals to open the competition.

It was a huge start for the Aussies, but several other countries claimed medals in a fast start to the meet, including an upset of the world record holder in the 100 butterfly and Russian Olympic Committee’s Roman Zhdanov setting a world record.

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In the men’s 50 free S10, Australia’s Rowan Crothers earned the gold medal (23.21), while Ukraine’s Maksym Krypak took the silver (23.33) and Brazil’s Phelipe Rodrigues won the bronze (23.50).

In the 100 freestyle, it was another Aussie victory as Ben Pophan claimed gold in the S8 event (57.37). He held off Russian Paralympic Committee’s Andrey Nikolaev, who won the silver medal (57.69), and Greece’s Dimosthenis Michalentzakis, who won the bronze (58.73).

In the S9 400 free, Australia’s William Martin continued the dominating opening-day performance by the Aussies. Martin won the gold medal in the S9 (4:10.25), followed by France’s Ugo Didier (4:11.33) and Australian teammate Alexander Tuckfield (4:13.54).

In the 50 breast SB3, Russian Olympic Committee’s Roman Zhdanov claimed gold in world-record fashion (46.49) ahead of Spain’s Miguel Luque (49.08) and Japan’s Takayuki Suzuki (49.32).

In the S14 100 fly at the Paralympic Games, Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira won gold (54.76) ahead of Great Britain’s world record holder Reece Dunn (55.12) and Australia’s Benjamin Hance (56.90).

“I’m quite happy with it, a little bit disappointed to be off my PB as if I’d been nearer that I could of got gold, but for a first final on my debut Paralympics silver is not bad,” Dunn said.  “I’m never satisfied, I could have the perfect race and I’d find something – I’m a little upset with my finish as I lost it there but I’m still happy none the less as I knew it was going to be a tough race coming in and that it was going to go down to those last five meters.”

In the S5 200 free, it was Italy’s Francesco Bocciardo who claimed gold in the event (2:26.76). Spain’s Antoni Ponce was the silver medalist (2:35.20), followed by Brazil’s Daniel Dias, who won the bronze in the event (2:38.61).

Israel’s Iyad Shalabi claimed gold in the S1 100 backstroke (2:28.04). Ukraine’s Anton Kol won silver (2:28.29) and Italy’s Francesco Bettella was the bronze medalist (2:32.08).

In the S2 100 backstroke, Chile’s Alberto Abarza won the gold medal (2:00.40) ahead of Brazil’s Gabriel Araujo (2:02.47) and Russian Olympic Committee’s Vladimir Danilenko (2:02.74).

In the Paralympic 100 butterfly S13, Belarus’ Ihar Boki won the gold medal (53.80), while Ukraine’s Oleksii Virchenko earned silver (56.16) and Uzbekistan’s Islam Aslanov won bronze (57.12).