Mercury (Hobart)

We gave voice to a billion, says chief


INTERNATIO­NAL Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons declared the Tokyo Paralympic­s the “most important edition” in history.

Parsons pointed to the participat­ion of 163 delegation­s – one less than the London 2012 record – with 86 teams winning medals and 62 claiming at least one gold.

“I don’t have any doubts that this was the most important edition of the Paralympic Games, because of the pandemic, because we gave a voice to 1.2 billion persons with disability,” Parsons said.

“The Paralympic movement is stronger than ever before.”

The delegation­s included two athletes from Afghanista­n, who made a dramatic arrival with the Games already in progress after being escaping Kabul.

IPC spokesm an Craig Spence said taekwondo athlete Zakia Khudadadi and sprinter Hossain Rasouli (pictured), who competed in long jump, had been offered the chance to carry Afghanista­n’s flag at the closing ceremony.

But there was still plenty of sporting action to get through, with medals decided in four other sports.

The US beat China 3-1 to take gold in women’s sitting volleyball, with the two teams meeting in the final for the fourth straight Games.

The Americans had ended China’s run of three consecutiv­e golds five years ago in Rio, and they got the upper hand again after establishi­ng an early twoset lead.

Japan was set to take on the US in the men’s wheelchair basketball final late on Sunday (Queensland time). And in shooting, Slovakian Veronika Vadovicova won the mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 final, edging out Sweden’s Anna Normann and Spain’s Juan Antonio Saavedra Reinaldo.

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