There has been plenty for Greeks to smile about this week as a silver and gold were added to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic medal tally. Australia also had a memorable day nine, scoring a three-peat gold in the pool, alongside a golden world record in the high jump.
Tears flowed as Athanasios Ghavelas and his guide Sotirios Gkaragkanis passed the finish line of the 100m sprint T11.
The 22-year-old athlete who has a vision impairment, together with his sighted companion, came in at first place, while simultaneously beating the world record they had set in the qualifiers. The duo ran in a total of 10.82 seconds, improving by 0.06 seconds.
Ghavelas’ vision impairment came at the age of 10 and he started his athletic career at 15. Although the runner and his guide only started training together from September 2020, they have known each other for many years.
′′We have a very good relationship. We’ve known each other for many years. We are very happy moving forward together. We train together. We work to be our best. It is necessary to be the same, 100 per cent essential. Your sighted companion can’t be tall and you, short,” he told the Hellenic Paralympic Committee back in August.
Over in the pool and just a few days after winning the bronze medal in the 50m freestyle final, Cypriot swimmer Karolina Pelendritou also scored a gold medal and set a new world record in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB11. The 35-year-old dubbed ‘The Princess of the pool’ swam with a time of 1:19.78.
Pelendritou was moved to tears as she stood on the podium with her gold medal, as the Cypriot flagged was raised with the national anthem playing.
Both medals on the Cypriot medal tally belong to the superstar swimmer.
Greece was awaiting the results of the individual boccia BC3 finals where Grigoris Polychronidis was guaranteed a podium finish.
The match was exciting and despite his Czech opponent Adam Pesca’s 3-0 lead in the first set. Polychronidis managed to equalise and take the game to a tie break. The 40-year-old was not able to overcome Pesca, but still brought home a silver medal for Greece, adding to country’s current total of eight medals overall.
The Aussie camp had another impressive day, rounding up four gold medals and a bronze.
Night nine saw an incredible three gold medals won one right after the other as Will Martin, Ben Hance and Rachael Watson took out the top spots in the 100m butterfly S9, in the 100m backstroke S14 and 50m freestyle S4 respectively.
Martin topped off his win by also setting a new world record, while Hance set a new Paralympic record.
Australians also rejoiced as Vanessa Low added a fourth gold to the day nine tally, winning the T63 long jump and impressively breaking her own world record three times.