Smith retains individual Paralympic boccia title

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Venue: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 24 August-5 September Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Follow on Radio 5 Live and on the BBC Sport website

Britain’s David Smith compared himself to Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo after he retained his BC1 individual Paralympic boccia title with a thrilling victory in Tokyo.

The 32-year-old trailed Chew Wei Lun of Malaysia 2-0 after the first of four ends but stormed back to win 4-2 for GB’s 30th gold of the Tokyo Games.

Smith had previously likened himself to the six-time world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan but said his approach in the final was more in keeping with the Portuguese forward.

“I like to be creative, I like to put on a show,” said Smith, “I like to play well but I prefer to win, so I guess you could put me in that camp.

“I’m probably unlike Ronnie and more like Ronaldo in that if I have to dig it out, I will – and I work hard to get what I need to do.”

The victory gives Smith his fifth Paralympic medal and sees him overtake Nigel Murray as the country’s most successful athlete in the sport.

Swimmer Becky Redfern won silver in the SB13 100m breaststroke, just over a year after giving birth to son Patrick.

The 21-year-old led at halfway but was overhauled by Germany’s Elena Krawzow, who won by 0.64 seconds as Redfern clocked one minute 14.10 seconds.

Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak reached Friday’s final of the table tennis class 6-7 event with a gripping 2-1 win over Spain.

Wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn won her first Paralympic medal with bronze in the T53 100m in 16.53 seconds, behind China’s Gao Fang (16.29) and Zhou Hongzhuan (16.48).

There was also bronze for archer Victoria Rumary in the women’s W1 event and table tennis bronzes for the class 4-5 team of Sue Bailey and Megan Shackleton and class 8 team of Ross Wilson, Aaron McKibbin and Billy Shilton.

The GB men’s wheelchair basketball team put in a strong second-half display to beat Canada 66-52 as they continued their bid to add Paralympic gold to their European and world titles.

In wheelchair tennis, defending champion Gordon Reid and Rio runner-up and fellow Briton Alfie Hewett both reached the men’s singles semi-finals.

It means Britain are guaranteed a medal in the event because, if Reid and Hewett lose their semi-finals, they would play each other in the bronze-medal play-off.

However, British quad doubles pair Andy Lapthorne and Antony Cotterill were beaten in their bronze-medal match, losing 7-5 3-6 7-5 to Japan’s Mitsuteru Moroishi and Koji Sugeno.

Daniel Bethell enjoyed a winning start as he became the first badminton player to represent Briton at a Paralympics Games, beating Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara 21-11 21-7 in the men’s singles SL3 class.

Super Smith retains his title

It is now three gold medals for Smith, who has earned a reputation for sporting colourful hairstyles at Paralympic Games.

This time it was dyed blue and red, following a blue mohawk in Rio five years ago and a red mohawk on his Games debut in 2008 in Beijing.

After a disappointing opening end, he rose to the pressure against his younger opponent, who had won all five of his matches to reach the decider.

“I didn’t play great, but I got over the line,” said Smith.

“There are a lot of things going on in my head at the moment, becoming the first BC1 to defend a Paralympic title and becoming the most successful British player of all time.

“You try not to think about it but it does matter, I do care about stuff like that.

“This is such a great sport and I just feel we are getting the recognition we deserve here, that makes me feel a bit emotional.”

Team-mate Scott McCowan lost out 6-1 to Australia’s Daniel Michel in the bronze play-off in the BC3 category.

GB men show character and spirit

The men’s wheelchair basketball team came from 42-32 down with four minutes to go in the third quarter to reach their seventh Paralympic semi-final in a row and they will face hosts Japan in the last four on Friday.

Patrick Anderson kept Canada in the game with 22 points but Gaz Choudhry, who is coaching the GB team with Haj Bhania forced to stay in Britain after a positive coronavirus test, led his side with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.

There were also key contributions from Lee Manning (17 points and 19 rebounds) and Gregg Warburton (16 points).

“We have a lot of work still to go, two more games is the way we see it,” said Warburton. “We’ve reached our first objective of getting to a semi-final.

“We’re showing a lot of character and a lot of spirit. We believe no matter what situation we’re in the game, we can beat anyone. We just have to keep believing.”

World watch

German long jumper Markus Rehm failed to trouble his own world record but was still an easy winner of the T64 long jump for his third title in a row.

The 33-year-old who set a world record of 8.62m at the European Championships in June, managed 8.18m in Tokyo to finish well ahead of French runner-up Dimitri Pavade (7.39m).

Dutchman Jetze Plat won his third gold medal of the Games with victory in the H4 road race.

Plat had won triathlon gold on Sunday before claiming handcycling gold in Tuesday’s road race and finished five minutes and 43 seconds ahead of his closest rival to complete the treble.

His team-mate Jennette Jansen bridged a 33-year-gap with gold in the women’s H1-4 road race.

Jansen, 53, won three titles as an athlete in Seoul in 1988 and also represented her country at wheelchair basketball before switching to cycling.

And there was yet another medal for Paralympic veteran Heinz Frei. The 63-year-old Swiss made his Games debut in 1984 as a wheelchair racer before switching to cycling and won his 27th Games medal with silver in the H3 time trial.

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