• Kyodo


Swimmer Takayuki Suzuki won Japan’s first gold of the Tokyo Paralympics on Thursday at Tokyo Aquatics Centre, topping the field in the men’s 100-meter freestyle S4 category.

Suzuki finished in 1 minute, 21.58 seconds, passing Italy’s Luigi Beggiato, who took silver, on the second length of the pool to win by 1.63 seconds. Roman Zhdanov of the Russian Paralympic Team finished third, more than 5 seconds behind Suzuki.

“I’m really happy. I only have simple words, but I came into the race trying to swim like I always do so I’m really satisfied with my time and also finishing first,” said the 34-year-old.

Japan has now won three medals in the pool, with 14-year-old Miyuki Yamada taking the host nation’s first on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Suzuki won his first medal of the Tokyo Games, a bronze in the men’s 50 breaststroke SB3 class.

Takayuki Suzuki of Japan celebrates after winning gold. | REUTERS
Takayuki Suzuki of Japan celebrates after winning gold. | REUTERS

He now has two Paralympic golds. At the 2008 Games in Beijing Suzuki won the SB3 50 breaststroke.

His seven medals have come across four games since his Paralympic debut in 2004, but the best result he could manage at the 2016 edition in Rio de Janeiro was a pair of fourth-place finishes.

Later on Thursday, Uchu Tomita won silver in the men’s S11 400 freestyle, with the 32-year-old finishing 3.22 behind Dutchman Rogier Dorsman.

Tomita is making his Paralympic debut and has another shot at a medal when he takes to the pool for the SM11 200 individual medley on Monday.

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