LONDON – Tomoki Sato captured his second gold medal of the World Para Athletics Championships by winning the men’s 400 meter T52 wheelchair race in a meet record of 56.78 seconds on Tuesday.
Sato added to the gold medal he won in the 1,500 meters on Sunday, when he came from behind in the last 50 meters to beat Rio Paralympic champion Raymond Martin of the United States. Hirokazu Ueyonabaru was third.
“I dug in desperately,” said Sato, who won two silver medals at the Rio Paralympics last summer, finishing behind Martin in both the 1,500 and 400 races.
“I feel I have made great progress over the last year. I am glad I was able to make up for the loss in Rio.”
Elsewhere for Japan, two-time defending champion Atsushi Yamamoto failed in his attempt at a three-peat in men’s long jump for the T42 category and settled for silver.
Yamamoto, also the runner-up at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics last September, jumped 6.44 meters, just 6 centimeters shorter than Denmark’s Daniel Wagner, the Rio bronze winner. German Leon Schaefer finished third with 6.25.
“I was thinking from before this competition that 6.50 meters was the winning line and it’s my loss for not being able to jump this far,” said Yamamoto, who missed out on the gold at the Paralympics by 8 cm.
After seeing Wagner make the mark, Yamamoto tried to do the same in his sixth try and took off on his left artificial leg. “I concentrated really hard. My jump didn’t feel so bad so I thought I’d made it,” he said.
When his final distance showed on the electric scoreboard, the 35-year-old former world record holder could not hide his disappointment.
“This loss will give me motivation. I want to make preparations so that I will be able to win the gold medal in Tokyo in three years’ time,” he said, referring to the 2020 Paralympic Games.
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