Paralympians creating legacies at Tokyo 2020 Games

Day 9:New World Records created in Aquatics at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

By Mousumi Mazumdar

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be remembered for the Paralympians making an outstanding debut and the ‘WOW’ moments they gave the audience.

S14 athletes competed in the last races of their tournament to grab the remaining six medals. With the S14 events ending today, the medal tally is dominated by the Paralympic debutants. Reece Dunn from GBR was the most decorated swimmer with 3 Gold, 1 Silver, and 2 Bronze. He also broke 3 World records. Meanwhile, Valeriia Shabalina is taking 3 Gold and 1 Silver home and 1 new World record.

In Men’s 100m Backstroke Final, all eyes were on Reece Dunn (GBR) to see whether he can take another Gold and add it to his medal tally. However, world champion Benjamin Hance (AUS) swam to a new Paralympic record with 57.73sec, to take the Gold for Australia. It added the remaining Golden color to the fresher’s Paralympic medal collection as he already won one silver and One Bronze earlier during the event.

With the difference of only 1.32sec, Russian swimmer Emeliantsev Viacheslav won the Silver and Reece Dunn settled for Bronze with 59.97sec.

“I’ve loved it, every single second of it. I swam really well so that is just a bonus. It’s been great being here and I have really enjoyed myself.” Reece said at the OIS MC.

In Women’s race, it was a nail-biting fight between Valeriia Shabalina (RPC) and Bethany Firth (GBR). Bethany successfully defended her World Championship title and made it to the top of the Podium with 1:05.92sec while Shabalina Valeriia finished second just after 0.93sec.

“I am over the moon. This is my favorite event, the one I’ve been waiting for a whole week.” said Bethany (OIS MC)

“Winning it in London and Rio, I wanted to come here again and smash this one too. I spoke to my psychologist before about grounding myself and remembering why I am here and why I swim, looking at my cross tattoo.

“I just wanted to come out here and make everyone proud. It has been such an up and down season and without my support system, my family, and my church, I would not be here today” said Bethany (OIS MC)

Jessica-Jane Applegate (GBR) added to Great Britain’s spectacular swim medal tally at these Games, placing third with 1:07.93sec. She shares her tough journey to get to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

“It was my last race, so I wanted to leave everything I had in the pool, and to come away with a bronze medal, it’s really good,” said Jessica-Jane at OIS MC

“I applied no pressure to myself, I just wanted to go out and have some fun tonight. It has been really tough, really tough. Training has been something else (laughs).”

“I took up cycling to try and keep my fitness up. I swam in my garden, in a swim spa… I only actually got in a swimming pool in April and I didn’t train long course until June, so I’ve only trained for four months. It has been really tough. I had to see a therapist for my mental health just to get me here because it has been really difficult.” says Jessica (OIS mc).

The swimmer had two car accidents this year leaving her with a neck injury. “There is nothing I can do other than come here and try and do my best. To come away with two individual bronzes and help the relay team achieve a gold medal is amazing.” She told OIS mc.

As the Virtus coverage of the S14 swimming also coming to a close, it is a testament to the resilience and strength of all the amazing Paralympians at Tokyo 2020, who inspire us all.

Stay tuned and follow Virtus on the final few days of the Games.