13 September 2016
Gold medals on the field and in the pool helped Australia to sixth on the medal tally after day five of the Rio Paralympics.
Adelaide’s Brayden Davidson claimed Australia’s first gold medal in track and field in the men’s long jump (T36) leaping a personal best 5.62 metres with his first round jump to claim gold on a countback from local hope Rodrigo Parreira da Silva.
“That first jump I just jumped out of my skin. I’ve never got near that distance ever before,” the 18-year-old told the Australian Paralympic Committee website.
“I’m excited for London (world titles) next year and excited for Tokyo (2020 Paralympics).”
Rheed McCracken claimed silver in the men’s 100m T34 final for wheelchair racers to secure Australia its 11th medal in athletics so far for the Games.
Teenager swimmer Timothy Disken followed in the footsteps of Paralympic legend Matthew Cowdrey to win the men’s S9 100m freestyle gold from compatriot Brenden Hall.
Cowdrey had made the event his own winning gold in 2004, 2008 and 2012 before retiring from the sport. Diskin was a breaststroker nine months ago but converted to freestyle after some intensive training from coach Yuriy Vdovychenko at the AIS.
“The last 35 stung a bit but I just put my head down and tried to focus on myself,” said Disken. “It’s fantastic to go one two, especially for Junior (Brenden Hall) to go his fastest time since world champs. We both pushed each other to the limit and it’s amazing to go one two.”
Ellie Cole took bronze in the women’s S9 100m freestyle while Tiffany Thomas-Kane also snared bronze in the women’s SM6 200m individual medley.
Sam von Einem claimed silver in men’s table tennis, Australia’s first medal in the sport since 1984.
Previously ranked seventh in the world in the TT11 class for athletes with an intellectual disability, von Einem found himself in a fight for gold against world number one, Florian van Acker of Belgium.
“When you get into a gold medal playoff, you really want to win it, but it’s really cool to have won a medal,” said Von Einem. “He’s world number one for a reason.”