Japan’s Kunieda strikes gold as pandemic Games lauded
September 05 2021 12:12 AM
Wheelchair tennis legend Shingo Kunieda
Wheelchair tennis legend Shingo Kunieda

AFP/ Tokyo, Japan

Wheelchair tennis legend Shingo Kunieda claimed gold for Japan, as the successful staging of the Games was lauded as “remarkable” on yesterday’s penultimate day of Paralympics action in Tokyo.
Top seed Kunieda, who has won 45 Grand Slam titles in his storied career, was looking to reclaim the Paralympic singles crown he won in 2008 and 2012.
And he did not disappoint in the final against the Netherlands’ Tom Egberink, dispatching the number eight seed 6-1, 6-2 in 1hr, 18min.
He looked skywards after Egberink hit the net on match point, then sobbed before embracing his opponent.
Bronze went to Gordon Reid, who beat Alfie Hewett 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 just a day after the British pair had teamed up to win doubles silver.
Earlier in the day, Hannah Cockroft and Nick Mayhugh enjoyed yet more success on the athletics track, with Britain’s Cockroft winning the seventh Paralympic gold of her career.
‘Hurricane Hannah’ clocked 1min 48.99sec in the T34 800m, obliterating her own Paralympic record set in Rio by almost 12 seconds.

‘Out of this world’
International Paralympic Committee spokesperson Craig Spence hailed “an amazing team effort” that enabled the Games to take place in a pandemic.
“It’s remarkable. There were doubts in the past two years when I thought these Games weren’t going to happen,” Spence told reporters.
“We took inspiration from our athletes. They seem to make the impossible possible. The sporting performances have been out of this world.”
But there was a note of controversy when Peter Genyn of Belgium claimed his wheelchair had been sabotaged and had to be patched up with duct tape before he won the T51 100m late on Friday night.

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