17 September 2016
Cyclist Carol Cooke claimed her second gold medal of the Rio Paralympics and swimmer Maddison Elliott her third, two of three gold Australia claimed on day nine as the nation maintained fifth spot on the medal tally.
Swimmer and four-time Paralympic gold medallist from London, Ellie Cole, completed the trifecta of gold medals on day nine with a Paralympic record in the S9 backstroke 100m.
Australia also banked a gold medal in sailing, although Dan Fitzgibbon and Leisl Tesch will have to wait until day 10 and the final race before collecting their prize.
Elliott again proved herself dominant in swimming's sprint events, setting a new world record in the S8 100m and adding to her victory in the 50m.
Having been part of a world record win in the 4x100m relay, Elliott stopped the clock in 100m in 29.73 second, almost half a second quicker than her previous world record.
“It’s been three years that I’ve been trying to break the 30 second mark and to be able to break the world record as well, I’m really stoked and overwhelmed with emotion,” Elliott said.
It was again a one-two finish for the Aussies, with Queensland’s Lakeisha Patterson finishing second to Elliott in the 100m, a repeat of the 50m final.
Cole was also part of the gold medal 4x100m relay swim, but she had to combat the nerves of being the defending 100m backstroke champion.
“I knew that I was the world record holder going into that race, and I was still questioning whether I was worthy,” Cole admitted. “Usually the athletes that win are the ones that can put those thoughts aside and tell themselves that they have a good crack at winning.”
Cole, Elliott and Patterson also teamed with Madeleine Scott to take silver in the 34pt medley relay. The team broke the previous world record, but it was bettered in the same race by gold medallists Great Britain.
Already a gold medallist in Rio, Brenden Hall added bronze in the 100m backstroke. Australia’s swimmers have now claimed 26 medals at this meet, including eight gold.
Having taken out the T1-2 road time trial two days ago, Cooke landed her second gold medal in the road race. Cooke, who has multiple sclerosis, finished the 30km course 17 seconds clear of world champion Jill Walsh of the USA.
“It was relief and sheer joy like ‘wow, I’ve got two golds,” Cooke said.
Having missed the medals in Beijing and London, runner Michael Roeger broke through for his first Paralympic medal with bronze in the T46 (arm amputee) 1500m.
In sailing, Fitzgibbon and Tesch have amassed an unbeatable lead in the SKUD18 two-person and, with one race remaining, have defended their Paralympic gold from London.
The pair have won eight of the 10 races so far in the Rio regatta and signalled their retirement.
“Couldn’t do better than that,” Fitzgibbon said of the Rio performance. “”We’ve done as much as anyone could have done. We’re happy. Ride off into the sunset for us.”