GB: Cockroft Wins Seventh Paralympic Gold, Henshaw And Sugar Also Secures Canoe Titles


Tokyo Paralympics: Hannah Cockroft wins seventh gold, Charlotte Henshaw and Laura Sugar triumph

Kare Adenegan and Hannah Cockroft hold aloft British flagsHannah Cockroft (right) defended her title from Rio 2016 with Kare Adenegan (left) winning silver

Paralympic Games on brainnewspaper
Venue: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 24 August-5 September Time in Tokyo: BST +8

Hannah Cockroft secured her seventh Paralympic gold medal with a dominant win in the T34 800m, the first of three British titles on day 11 in Tokyo.

Cockroft set a new Paralympic record as British team-mate Kare Adenegan took silver, almost 11 seconds behind.

In another British one-two, Charlotte Henshaw won KL2 200m Para-canoe gold, with Emma Wiggs clinching silver.

Another gold soon followed in Para-canoe, with Laura Sugar becoming KL3 champion.

Stuart Wood, making his Paralympic debut in Tokyo, won bronze in a tight finish in the VL3 200m final.

Elsewhere, Zak Skinner missed out on a medal in the T13 long jump by an agonising two centimetres, knocked out of bronze position on the final jump by American Isaac Jean-Paul.

Dan Bethell is guaranteed at least a silver medal on Para-badminton’s Paralympic debut, reaching the men’s SL3 singles final, which is at 10:30 BST on Saturday.

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Cockroft defies warm-up accident to win gold

Victory secured 29-year-old Cockroft’s second title in Tokyo, after she broke her own world record to retain the 100m crown last Sunday.

Her new Paralympic record of one minute 48.99 seconds was set in rainy conditions and is almost 12 seconds inside her own previous Games best.

Adenegan clocked a personal best of 1:59.85, meaning she upgraded on the bronze she won in the event in Rio five years ago.

American Alexa Halko took third, while Briton Fabienne Andre was fourth in a new personal best time.

“I’m absolutely gutted,” Cockroft joked. “I was so close that to world record, I couldn’t have got closer if I’d tried.

“I’m really happy with gold but I’m obviously a bit frustrated I couldn’t quite squeeze under that time.

“I did that time in Switzerland on the fastest track in the world so to come here and replicate it, I’ve got to be proud.”

Cockroft revealed she had an accident while warming up for the final, causing her concern before the race.

“I put my hand through the wheel while the chair was moving,” she said. “I’ve never ever done that but I decided to do it today. It was pretty bloody but it’s fine.”

Adenegan, whose silver was her second of the Games, said: “I’m really pleased, and to go sub-two minutes as well, honestly I’m so happy.

“I take a lot of confidence from it. I’m really pleased I was able to perform when it counted.”

Sport switches pay off for Henshaw and Sugar

Charlotte Henshaw pumps her fist in celebrationCharlotte Henshaw retired from swimming in order to take up para-canoeing

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As a swimmer, Henshaw won silver at London 2012 and bronze in Rio, but finally got the colour she wanted after switching to Para-canoe.

The 34-year-old retired from the pool in 2017 in order to change sports, winning the KL2 World Championship title the following year – a title she retained in 2019.

In Tokyo, she faced tough competition from team-mate Wiggs, who won the Paralympic title in the event five years ago.

The pair looked set for gold and silver from the start of Saturday’s race, pulling away from the rest of the field early on before Henshaw then edged ahead, setting a new Paralympic best time of 50.76 seconds.

Wiggs, 41, won VL2 gold on Friday but had to settle for silver in her second final, finishing 0.649secs behind Henshaw.

“It’s amazing. I feel a real sense of gratitude that I got the opportunity that I was able to race for this medal,” said Henshaw.

“Twelve, 18 months ago, we weren’t sure if we were going to get this opportunity.

“It was a fantastic race and incredible that Emma and I were able to again get the top two steps on the podium. It just shows the strength that we have in British canoeing, and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

A change of sport also paid off for Sugar, who competed in athletics in Rio.

She was spotted by Para-canoe through the talent ID process in 2018, and sealed Paralympic gold three years later in some style, clocking a Paralympic best of 49.582.

That was almost two seconds ahead of France’s Nelia Barbosa, who took silver.

Laura Sugar lifts her paddle in celebrationLaura Sugar’s gold was her first Paralympic medal of any colour

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Wood, the only member of the GB Para-canoe team making his Paralympic bow in Tokyo, looked set for a medal from the start of the VL3 final, taking the lead in the early stages.

But Australia’s Curtis McGrath pulled him back, followed by Brazil’s Giovane Vieira de Paula, as they took gold and silver respectively.

In a tight race for bronze, Wood edged a maiden medal by just 0.033secs.

GB’s canoeists finish the Games with seven medals, including three golds, putting them top of the sport’s medal table.