With the Rio Paralympics finally coming to a close Team GB went out in style with an action-packed final few days to the 2016 games.
Here’s my three day summary of GB’s at the closing stages of the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Friday September 16th
It was yet another superb day for GB when they won another 9 Gold, the most they’ve gotten in 1 day at these Games.
The bulk of these came from the Equestrian where the final day of the Equestrian was underway. It was time for all five riding Grades to compete in ther respective Freestyle Tests, with Sophie Well kicking things off for GB in the Grade IV event. Unfortunately for Wells, she narrowly missed out on the top spot and had to take the Silver, although it wasn’t too much of a disappointment after she won the Gold in the Championship Test two days earlier.
Lee Pearson was next, competing in the Grade lb test. This was Pearson’s last chance for an individual Gold, having missed out in the Championship Tesr earlier on in the week, but good fortune was on his side on Friday as he took the top spot in his test. Natasha Baker, Sophie Christiansen and Anne Dunham all replicated their positions in the Grade II and Grade la events from the day before to take home 2 more Gold and 1 Silver for GB. The team finished the competition with 11 medals out of 11, 7 of which were Gold.
Several of the Golds for GB on Friday also came from the track, where Paul Blake and Hannah Cockroft dominated in their events to finish on top. Cockroft was joined for the third time on the podium by teammate Kare Adenegan who raced superbly to take the Bronze. Hers was one of two Bronzes earned by GB in the Athletics that day, as over on the field Dan Greaves took third place in the Men’s F44 Discus Throw.
Going into Friday GB were already confirmed two medals as Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid had both won their semi finals in the Men’s Wheelchair Tennis Singles on Wednesday to compete against one another in the final. After losing their Doubles match the day before, both guys were desperate to be the one to take the Gold, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be for the 18 year old Alfie Hewett 2 sets to none in a dominant performance by his teammate.
More Golds came for GB in events they hadn’t yet won at these Games – Boccia and Archery. In the former, David Smith won 5-0 against Daniel Perez of the Netherlands to win GB their only medal in the sport at Rio. His Gold preceeded a Silver by David Stone in the Men’s T1-2 Road Race. In the Archery, John Walker followed in the footsteps of teammates John Stubbs and Jodie Grinham who took Silver in the Mixed Team Compound Open, but he went one better by beating competitor Czech David Drahoninsky to win the Gold.
Over in the Table Tennis, Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson beat China 2 sets to 1 in the Men’s Class 6-8 Team Bronze Table Tennis match. This was the third medal for GB in Table Tennis, after Rob Davies and William John Bayley won Gold in their respective individual matches.
As always the day ended in the Aquatics centre with a full schedule of swimming events, although it turned out not be a great night for GB. Certainly not to begin with at least.
Despite reaching almost all of their finals for the day, the GB swimmers were coming up short on the final touch and being beaten to 4th and 5th place in a number of their races. Their luck started to change when Hannah Russell took to the water to swim in the Women’s S13 100m Freestyle. She faced tough competition but managed to finish in third to add a Bronze to the Gold she’d already won in the 100m Backstroke. Her teammate Andrew Mullen then did one better when he came second in his S5 50m Backstroke race, being beaten to the top spot by Brazilian favourite Daniel Dias.
The night ended with the Women’s 34 Points 4 x 100m Relay. GB had fallen short in their previous relays, and there were concerns over swimmers Stephanie Slater and Stephanie Millward given they’d already competed that night in the Women’s S8 50m Freestyle. Given their disability meant they often struggled with recovery, there was worry that they’d be tired coming into the relay, but when they dived into the pool late on Friday night they proved that that certainly wasn’t the case.
With a time of 4:45.23 minutes, GB beat rivals Australia to the Gold, setting a new World Record in the process and redeeming the extremely narrow loss they suffered back in London 2012.
Favourite medal moment of the day = The first relay Gold for Team GB coming courtesy of Claire Cashmore, Stephanie Millward, Stephanie Slater and Alice Tai in a World-Record setting time for the 4 x 100m Medley. What made this win even greater was that it marked the first Paralympic Gold for Cashmore after so many years of missing out.
As it happened…
- 10:10 : SILVER (Sophie Wells) Individual Grade IV Freestyle Test (Equestrian)
- 10:15 : GOLD (Paul Blake) Men’s T36 400m (Track Athletics)
- 12:00 : BRONZE (Aaron McKibbin, Ross Wilson) Men’s Class 6-8 Team (Table Tennis)
- 12:30 : GOLD (David Smith) BC1 Mixed Individual (Boccia)
- 13:00 : SILVER (David Stone) Men’s T1-2 Road Race (Road Cycling)
- 13:00 : GOLD (Lee Pearson) Individual Grade lb Freestyle Test (Equestrian)
- 14:10 : GOLD (Sophie Christiansen) Individual Grade la Freestyle Test (Equestrian)
- 14:10 : SILVER (Anne Dunham) Individual Grade la Freestyle Test (Equestrian)
- 15:00 : GOLD (Gordon Reid) Men’s Singles (Wheelchair Tennis)
- 15:00 : SILVER (Alfie Hewett) Men’s Singles (Wheelchair Tennis)
- 15:30 : GOLD (Natasha Baker) Individual Grade II Freestyle Test (Equestrian)
- 17:50 : BRONZE (Dan Greaves) Men’s F44 Discus Throw (Field Athletics)
- 18:11 : GOLD (Hannah Cockroft) Women’s T34 800m (Track Athletics)
- 18:11 : BRONZE (Kare Adenegan) Women’s T34 800m (Track Athletics)
- 18:45 : GOLD (John Walker) Men’s W1 Individual (Archery)
- 19:31 : BRONZE (Hannah Russell) Women’s S13 100m Freestyle (Swimming)
- 19:51: SILVER (Andrew Mullen) Men’s S5 50m Backstroke (Swimming)
- 20:43 : GOLD (Claire Cashmore, Stephanie Millward, Stephanie Slater, Alice Tai) Women’s 34 Points 4 x 100m Medley Relay (Swimming)
TOTAL MEDALS = 126 – (58) GOLD (33) SILVER (35) BRONZE
Saturday September 17th
It was the last full day of competition on Saturday and you would have thought by that point that Team GB’s success would have run it’s course.
There was no such luck for the other competing nations, though, as the medal kept coming in for the 2012 hosts.
Another six Golds were added to the tally alongside 6 Silver and 9 Bronze to make it a total of 21 in 12 hours – the joint highest for GB on any one day at these Paralympics.
The greatest success for the team came from the Archery where GB completely stole the show in the Women’s Individual by winning all of the medals. Jessica Stretton, Jo Frith and Vicky Jenkins took the podium in that order, giving GB their first clean sweep in an event since 1996 where Alan Lyne, George Wright and Keith Brenton did the same in the Men’s Singles LB7/8 Lawn Bowls competition. Frith later went on to win Gold in another event on Saturday when she and John Walker beat the Republic of Korea in the Mixed Team event.
The most medals for GB came once again from the Swimming with a total of 9 being won in just a matter of hours. Ellier Simmonds was the only member of Team GB to reach a final on Saturday that didn’t claim a medal that night after she was beaten to Bronze by Ellie Robinson in the Women’s S6 100m Freestyle.
Ollie Hynd, Bethany Firth and Hannah Russell were the Gold medallists for GB in the pool when they won their respective events. For Hynd and Russell this was their second Gold of the Games, and for Firth it was her third. Stephanie Millward, Abby Kane, Thomas Hamer and Jessica-Jane Applegate were the silver medallists of the night, with the latter being beaten by Firth in the Women’s SM14 200m Individual Medley. Andrew Mullen finished things off with a Bronze in the Men’s S5 100m Freestyle.
Saturday marked the emd of the Sailing Regatta, an event that would not be returning when the Games go to Tokyo in 2020. Coming in to the final day, GB were in medal position in two of the 3 events, with Helena Lucas holding the pole position in the 1-Person 2.4mR Keelboat by a single point. Unfortunately, after struggling to find the speed on Saturday, Lucas finished the medal race in 14th, a result that knocked her down to 3rd overall. Likewise, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell were only separated from the Canadians in 2nd place by one point, but they failed to beat them in the final race, meaning they too ended their Paralympic Games with a Bronze medal.
Other Bronzes came for GB in the Basketball and Road Cycling. After the Women’s defeat against the Netherlands the day before in the Women’s Basketball, the Men had greater success when they beat Turkey in their final to take the Bronze. It certainly wasn’t an easy feat, though, as GB had to claw back in the final minutes to take the game to overtime, but once there they dominated to take home another win for GB
In the Road Cycling it was another medal for Steve Bate and Crystal Lane as they came third in their respective Road Races. Lane’s Bronze was the second of 2 medals for GB in the Women’s C4-5 Road Race, as Sarah Storey took the Gold to make it her third of these Games and 14th overall.
In the Olympic Stadium it was the final day of the Athletics and Paul Blake and Maria Lyle managed to win their team medals when they came 2nd and 3rd in their respective events. Blake had been favourite to win his T36 800m race, but Australian James Turner, who had been an unknown entity prior to the Games, ran an exceptional race. He finished 7 seconds ahead of Blake in a time of 2:02.39, setting a new World Record in the process.
GB’s Sophie Kamlish had hoped to close the athletics with a medal for her time, after setting a new World Record in the heats of the Women’s T44 100m. That wasn’t to be, though, as she only managed 4th, with Dutch superstar Marlou Van Rhijn speeding past in the final second to take the Gold. Kamlish does leave the Games, however, with her WR intact.
Favourite medal moment of the day = Great Britain dominating the podium in the Women’s Individual Archery with Jessica Stretto, Jo Frith and Vicky Jenkins taking Gold, Silver and Bronze respectively.
As it happened…
- 09:30 : GOLD (Sarah Storey) Women’s C4-5 Road Race (Road Cycling)
- 09:30 : BRONZE (Crystal Lane) Women’s C4-5 Road Race (Road Cycling)
- 10:54 : BRONZE (Vicky Jenkins) Women’s Individual (Archery)
- 11:09 : GOLD (Jessica Stretton) Women’s Individual (Archery)
- 11:09 : SILVER (Jo Frith) Women’s Individual (Archery)
- 11:13 : BRONZE (Maria Lyle) Women’s T35 200m (Track Athletics)
- 11:45 : BRONZE (Great Britain) Men’s Team (Wheelchair Basketball)
- 13:05 : BRONZE (Alexandra Rickham, Niki Birrell) 2-Person SKUD18 Keelboat (Sailing)
- 13:50 : BRONZE (Steve Bate) Men’s B Road Race (Road Cycling)
- 14:05 : BRONZE (Helena Lucas) 1-Person 2.4mR Keelboat (Sailing)
- 17:35 : GOLD (John Walker, Jo Frith) Mixed Team (Archery)
- 17:36 : BRONZE (Ellie Robinson) Women’s S6 100m Freestyle (Swimming)
- 17:43 : GOLD (Oliver Hynd) Men’s SM8 200m Individual Medley (Swimming)
- 17:51 : SILVER (Stephanie Millward) Women’s SM8 20m Individual Medley (Swimming)
- 18:06 : GOLD (Hannah Russell) Women’s S12 50m Freestyle (Swimming)
- 19:00 : SILVER (Abby Kane) Women’s S13 100m Backstroke (Swimming)
- 19:22 : BRONZE (Andrew Mullen) Men’s S5 100m Freestyle (Swimming)
- 19:23 : SILVER (Paul Blake) Men’s T36 800m (Track Athletics)
- 19:51 : SILVER (Thomas Hamer) Men’sSM14 200m Individual Medley (Swimming)
- 19:58 : GOLD (Bethany Firth) Women’s SM14 200m Individual Medley (Swimming)
- 19:58 : SILVER (Jessica-Jane Applegate) Women’s SM14 200m Individual Medley (Swimming)
TOTAL MEDALS = 147 – (64) GOLD (39) SILVER (44) BRONZE
Sunday September 18th
Unfortunately no medals were awarded to Team GB on the final day of the Rio Paralympics.
The nation only had competitors in two events – the Men’s T46 and T54 Marathons. Derek Rae, who raced in the T46, and David Weir, who raced in the T54 were both unable to finish their events, leaving just Simon Lawson who came 14th in the T54 Marathon.
With that marking the end for GB’s Paralympic games, the officially tally for the team is 147 medals, 64 of which were Gold.
In comparison to London 2012 that is 27 medals more in terms of the overall count, as well as an increase of 30 Gold. It’s GB’s best performance in 28 years, and therefore their greatest games since the National Lottery funding began in 1994.
Below is a graph summarising Team GB’s incredible performance at these Paralympic Games.
*All details are accurate according to the official Rio 2016 Paralympics app. The times posted signify the start of the final, therefore some times may not correctly indicate when the medal was achieved.
**header image by Chris Eason at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mister-e/