NT News

Cool money bonus for swimming stars

- JULIAN LINDEN

AUSTRALIAN swimmers Will Martin and Ben Hance both won gold – and a $20,000 bonus each – at the Tokyo Paralympic­s on Thursday.

Just hours after the federal government announced that Paralympia­ns who won medals in Tokyo would get the same cash rewards as the Australian Olympic team, Martin and Hance hit the jackpot with stunning performanc­es.

Martin – who has emerged as one of the brightest new stars on the Dolphins team – destroyed his own world record and his opponents in the final to win the Class 9 100m butterfly gold.

The 20-year-old Queensland­er had already broken his own world record during the morning heats, but he hacked almost another full second off that time in the final to stop the clock at 57.19 seconds and collect his third gold medal in Tokyo.

He will pocket $20,000 for his two individual wins and $5000 for his split in a winning relay, but said he was oblivious to the news, which came earlier in the day when he was resting before his race.

“I haven’t really been keeping up with the media lately.

I’ve just been focusing on getting in and getting the job done,” he said.

“It means a fair bit. I’m just pretty grateful for that now that I’m hearing about it.”

The race for gold was as good as over once they completed the first lap with Martin comfortabl­y ahead, so the only real interest was in whether he could break the world record. That, too, quickly became a mute point as he did it easily even though he felt in a world of pain. “I didn’t really have anything left in the tank. I was pretty shocked by the end of it,” he said. “I really thought that I would be able to kind of hold out for the entire time. And then it hit me about the 10-metre mark. That’s when I kind of hit a brick wall and really started to stink.”

Hance came within a blink of an eye of breaking his world record in the 100m backstroke after he won his Class 14 100m backstroke final in 57.75sec.

The 21-year-old from the Sunshine Coast broke the Paralympic­s Games record he set in the morning and just missed the world record of 57.56 he set at the Australian trials in Adelaide in June. He now has gold, silver and bronze medals from his first Paralympic appearance.

 ??  ?? William Martin. Picture: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
William Martin. Picture: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

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