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Day 4: Gold, World Record for Pascoe in the pool

GOLD and WORLD RECORD for Pascoe in the pool, whilst tandem pair Foy and Thompson stage epic battle to win SILVER!

Highlights from Rio today:

· GOLD and WORLD RECORD – Sophie Pascoe, Women's 200m Individual Medley SM10 Final

· SILVER – Emma Foy & Laura Thompson, Women's B 3000m Individual Pursuit Final

· 4th place – Amanda Cameron & Hannah van Kampen, Women's B 3000m Individual Pursuit Final

· 4th place – Anna Grimaldi, Women's 100m T47 Final

· Fastest qualifier in the heats – Liam Malone, Men's 200m T44 (final tomorrow, NZT 10.21am)

· 7th fastest qualifier and personal best in the heats – Jacob Phillips, Men’s 200m T35

It was quite a feat with such a boisterous Brazilian crowd, but Sophie Pascoe managed to leave the audience speechless at the Aquatic Centre today, winning the Women's 200m Individual Medley SM10 final in a performance that was so dominant, her rivals could barely see her in the distance. She powered ahead within metres of the starting block, clinching a GOLD, beating her own World Record from the London 2012 Paralympic Games by over half a second and winning by 6 seconds.

The medal proved a golden end to Day 4 for the New Zealand Paralympic Team, which began with a stand-out race from tandem Para-Cycling pair Emma Foy and Laura Thompson at the Rio Velodrome, who battled their way with great determination to reach a SILVER in the Women’s B 3000m Individual Pursuit. The junior tandem pairing of Amanda Cameron and Hannah van Kampen did very well to reach the ride-off for the bronze in the same event, just 6 months into their partnership, finishing 4th.

Over at the Olympic Stadium, long jump gold medallist, Anna Grimaldi, narrowly missed out on adding a bronze to her collection, finishing 4th in the Women's 100m T47 Final by just one tenth of a second. Meanwhile, Paralympic debutant, 19-year-old Jacob Phillips qualified 7th fastest for tomorrow’s final of the Men’s 200m T35 in a personal best of 28.78. Phillips only took to the international stage in 2016.

As the day winds to a close here in Rio, kiwi blade runner Liam Malone set himself up as one of the favourites to win the final of the Men's 200m T44, laughing as he crossed the line to qualify fastest in a time of 21.33sec, nearly a second ahead of his personal best time of 22.14. The Nelson born runner left the crowd with a sense that there was potentially more gas in the tank, seeming to check his pace toward the end of the race, likely conserving his energy for the final race tomorrow.

New Zealand’s total medal tally for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is now 4 GOLD (Grimaldi, Fisher, Pascoe, Pascoe), 3 SILVER (Pascoe, Malone, Foy & Thompson) and 2 BRONZE (Dubber, McSweeney). The New Zealand Paralympic Games Team is aiming for 18 medals, including 12 gold.

PARA-SWIMMING

Sophie Pascoe powered to her third medal of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games today, taking GOLD and a WORLD RECORD in the Women's 200m Individual Medley SM10 Final. Pascoe laid down an unbeatable butterfly leg and kept her form throughout the backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle to beat her own world record from the London 2012 Paralympic Games by over half a second in 2:24.90. Pascoe took the Gold over 6 seconds ahead of silver medallist, Aurelie Rivard (Canada), in 2:30.03, with Bianka Pap in Bronze at 2:31.46. Pascoe went into the final fastest overall, 5sec ahead of Rivard.

Pascoe said: “To be good at all four strokes and to put it all together in one race is challenging. I set the benchmark pretty high four years ago setting the world record with a 2:25 and to finally turn around tonight and see a 2:24 I am just absolutely stoked. I am really relieved and could not be happier to be able to share this moment with my family, friends and support team.”

PARA-CYCLING

Tandem pairing Emma Foy and Laura Thompson (sighted pilot) showed true guts and determination today to win SILVER in the Women’s B 3000m Individual Pursuit in 3:31.569 on the final day of racing at the Rio Velodrome. The three-time World Champions came into the final having qualified second fastest in the heats during the wee hours of the morning New Zealand time and by 5.00am, had clinched a silver medal in their first ever Paralympic attempt as a team. Foy, who only entered Para-Cycling three years ago, is the rookie of the pair, with Laura Thompson amongst one of the most experienced tandem pilots in the world. Thompson won a Gold, Silver and Bronze and broke a World Record at the London 2012 Paralympic Games with her former stoker, Phillipa Gray (now retired). The British tandem of Turnham and Hall were simply too fast, taking the win by over 3sec in 3:28.050.

Foy said: “To win silver is a great achievement. It felt rough out there and it was hard and it did not come together how we would have liked it to. Our qualification round this morning was great and we did a time we were really happy with. We have two more events coming up, both on the road and we are now going to focus on these and continue to give it our all.”

ew Zealand’s outstanding new tandem pairing of Amanda Cameron and Hannah van Kampen rode off for bronze, finishing 4th with an OVL against British sprint specialists, Thornhall and Scott. Cameron, the 28-year-old stoker from Wellington, was inspired to get involved in Para-Cycling after watching kiwi Phillipa Gray win the trifecta with Thompson at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. With her combined visual and hearing impairment, Cameron is reliant on the keen senses of her pilot, 23-year-old van Kampen. The pair only competed together for the first time in early 2016, surprising themselves by qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with a 5th at the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships. Cameron and van Kampen rode an outstanding qualification heat in 3:33.298, obliterating their personal best time by 7 seconds. They could not sustain pace through the ride-off.

“It is a bittersweet moment for us knowing we were so close to getting a medal but unfortunately the British tandem being sprinters, made a smart tactical move to sprint from the gate to catch us and it was all over so quickly. However, we had a great ride this morning in qualifications. We beat our main competitors being the Irish and Japanese, so to come away with that, a massive PB and qualify for bronze finals is pretty amazing. And to think this time last year I had never ridden on a velodrome track! So while we are feeling gutted to miss out on bronze, it's important to remind ourselves how far we've come.”

PARA-ATHLETICS

Liam Malone, fresh from his stunning silver medal in the Men’s 100m T44 two days ago, was back on track again today in the heats for the first of his two favoured events, the Men's 200m T44. Malone cruised to the fastest qualifying time in a time of 21.33sec, nearly two tenths faster than Hunter Woodall (USA) on 21.50 and two tenths ahead of David Behre (Germany). Malone appeared completely in control of the heat, checking his nearest rival twice on the way down the final straight and maintaining a small lead to cross in first. He’s a medal chance if firing on all cylinders tomorrow.

Malone said: “I am really happy as I managed to get some more sleep last night and I really just wanted to have some fun out there tonight. I am really looking forward to tomorrow and putting in a huge effort, I want to win.”

Thursday’s golden girl in the Women’s Long Jump T47, Anna Grimaldi, was back in action today and was pipped for a bronze medal in the Women's 100m T47 by just a tenth of a second. Grimaldi, who won gold for New Zealand three days ago after a stunning personal best on her final jump, qualified fifth fastest in her second event. She clocked a personal best 12.88 in the heat and 12.96 in the finals.

Jacob Phillips, the 19-year-old Paralympic debutant from Hamilton, managed a personal best time of 28.78 to make the final of the Men's 200m - T35 Round 1, 3 seconds behind the fastest qualifier.

WHAT’S ON TOMORROW

The Para-Sailing team will hit the water for the first time on Day 5, with 10 races ahead of them before they can make the Finals. Tomorrow also sees the first outing for Tupou Neiufi and William Stedman. Some of New Zealand’s leading Para-Swimmers will also hit the pool, all with strong medal chances.

· Para-Swimmers: Cameron Leslie, Mary Fisher, Sophie Pascoe, Nikita Howarth, Tupou Neiufi, Hamish McLean

· Para-Athletics athletes: Liam Malone, William Stedman, Jacob Phillips

· Para-Sailors: Chris Sharp, Andrew May and Rick Dodson

--

Rio 2016 Day 5 - while you were sleeping


The New Zealand Paralympic Team has had a busy and successful Day 5 so far in Rio with 8 Paralympians competing, setting two Paralympic records.

Cameron Leslie was the first Kiwi to compete starting a huge day in the pool. Leslie, the current World Record holder took a commanding lead in the Men’s 150 Individual Medley SM4 heat to qualify fastest in 2:29.36 for this morning’s final (NZT). Mary Fisher followed swiftly after in the Women’s 50m Freestyle S11 heat winning in a time of 31.35, qualifying third fastest for the final. Sophie Pascoe then returned to the pool in the Women’s 100m Butterfly S10 setting a new Paralympic Record of 1:04.37, going into tonight’s final with a 4 second lead over Yi Chen (China). New Zealand’s youngest team member Tupou Neiufi, made her Paralympic debut today competing in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 finishing 7th in 1:11.21. While 16-year-old Hamish McLean was in the pool for his second event in Rio, placing 5th in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM6 in a time of 2:59.81. Both Paralympians did not qualify for their respective finals. The final New Zealand Paralympian in the pool to compete in the heats was Nikita Howarth in the Women’s 50m Butterfly S7, currently ranked number 1 in world. Howarth will go into tonight’s final as the fastest qualifier in a time of 35.40.

While over at the Olympic Stadium debutant Paralympian William Stedman set a Paralympic record of 5.35m on his first attempt in the Men’s Long Jump T36, surpassing his personal best by 13cm. Following Stedman’s jump, this record was then exceeded by two other Paralympians. Stedman finished in 5th place. Jacob Phillips ran his second final of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games finishing 8th in the Men’s 200m T35 final in a time of 29.10.

Kiwis in action later today include:

ParalympianPara-SportFinalEvent
Cameron LesliePara-SwimmingFinal - 08.50amMen's 150m IM SM4
Mary FisherPara-SwimmingFinal - 09.15amWomen's 50m Freestyle S11
Sophie PascoePara-SwimmingFinal - 09.43amWomen's 100m Butterfly S10
Nikita HowarthPara-SwimmingFinal - 11.08amWomen's 50m Butterfly S7
Chris Sharp / Andrew May / Rick DodsonPara-SailingHeat - Race 1 - 04.30am

Heat - Race 2 - 06.00am

Sonar (10 races in 5 days + medal race)
Liam MalonePara-AthleticsFinal 10.21amMen's 200m T44

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