American wheelchair racing legend Tatiana McFadden won her 18th Paralympic medal on Saturday, while second place went to the iconic Italian fan of the Tokyo Games, Beatrice “Baby” Wave, trying to defend her title.
On the fourth day of the competition, 54 gold medals were won in nine different sports, including the final of 17 athletics at the Olympic Stadium.
McFadden won a bronze medal in the women’s T54 5,000m so that she could continue to finish on the podium in every Paralympic race she entered since 2008.
But he said that competing only in Tokyo is a victory in itself, having been diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder in 2017 that took almost two years to heal.
“I’m in Cloud Nine,” said the 32-year-old, who was born in Russia and raised in an orphanage until she was adopted at the age of six.
“I was in a really dark place because it took me 20 months to recover, and in those 20 months everyone was getting better.”
McFadden added that it was “quite amazing” that he won the bronze medal behind his teammate Susanna Skaroni, who won the gold medal.
Flour Jong of the Netherlands won the women’s T64 long jump, defeating French defending champion Marie Emily Le Furr by 6.16 meters.
Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Le Fur said she would retire after the competition.
“It’s time to dump her here in Tokyo,” said the 32-year-old.
“I’m proud of this performance and of doing this with these extraordinary girls. No regrets.”
Off the track, the Italian Force of Nature View, one of the world’s most recognizable Paralympians, began defending its individual wheelchair fence title from the 2016 Rio Games.
Vivo, who had both arms and legs amputated when he contracted meningitis at the age of 11, won all his morning pool competitions and won the quarterfinals to secure his place in the semifinals.
Spain’s Susanna Rodriguez, who helped fight the corona virus in her job as a doctor, won a gold medal in the women’s PTVI triathlon.
Rodriguez, who spent hours training for the Paralympics to help patients recover from a severe infection, will also compete in the 1,500 meters at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
“I will try to rest now and try to fix my legs,” he said.
“I need to stay calm because this situation has given me too much adrenaline.”
Britain’s Cadina Cox will also turn her attention to athletics after winning her second cycling gold in Team Sprint. She will try to defend her T38 400m title next week.
Also in the velodrome, Neil and Lori Fitch, a British husband and wife, won gold medals within 15 minutes of each other.
Bokia’s competition continued, with all four individual gold medalists returning from the Rio Games to defend their title.
Hong Kong’s BC4 champion Leung Yuk Wing will try to repeat his feat of winning gold in the Athens 2004 individual and doubles event.
“I’m trying to calm down to face the game, because just thinking about becoming a champion or a gold medal will be very stressful,” he said.
In wheelchair rugby, Britain beat hosts Japan 55-49 to advance to the final.
He will play in a gold medal match against either the United States or two-time defending champions Australia.
Away from the competition, organizers apologized when a self-driving bus hit a blind Japanese judoka in the Paralympic village on Thursday.
Tokyo 2020 suspended vehicle operations after the crash, where a bus contacted Armitsu Katazono.
Katazono was scheduled to compete in the men’s 81kg event on Saturday morning, but did not start his match against Ukraine’s Dimitrov Solvay.