Markus Rehm is so far ahead of the rest of the world in the long jump that a gold medal almost felt like a letdown since it wasn’t accompanied by a world record.
But Rehm already owns the world record, which he set in June. Now he has a third straight Paralympic title to go along with it.
The German “Blade Jumper” dominated the T64 long jump competition again, soaring to the gold medal with a jump of 8.18 meters during the Tokyo Games at National Stadium on Wednesday night.
“First of all, I’m happy,” Rehm said. “Winning the third gold medal, I think it’s something really special and it’s a beauty, this gold medal. I’ve seen it already, I’ve held it in my hands and I’m really, really, happy to bring it back home.”
Rehm had three jumps of at least 8 meters. His worst of the night was 7.95, a distance that would have still beaten silver medalist Dimitri Pavade of France, whose best was 7.39. American Trenten Merrill earned bronze with a jump of 7.08.
Rehm had been hoping to top the world record of 8.62 meters, a mark he set June 1 and a distance that would have given him gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
He admitted to being a little disappointed he wasn’t able to rewrite the record.
“I have to analyze it later,” Rehm said. “We have a guy from biomechanics, he filmed and we’re going to analyze it later, what maybe the problem was today. Well, if we can talk about a problem, what maybe stopped me from jumping even further.”
The German stopped short of committing to compete at the Paris Games in 2024, but is looking forward to returning to Japan next year for the world championships in Kobe.
“The next goal is to go on holiday and then come back to training,” he said.
“Next year, we have the world championships here in Kobe, Japan, and I’m really happy about that because now we have had a little taste of how it is to compete here.”
It was also a good night for China at National Stadium.
Shi Yiting added to the country’s runaway lead in gold medals by repeating as the winner of the women’s T36 100-meter sprint. Shi set a new world record with a time of 13.61 seconds.
“This gold is for my country,” she said. “They have helped us so much with medical care while growing up, and they still help us.
“I would like to celebrate when I get back, but it will be difficult as I have another competition to prepare for, the National Games.
“Maybe we can have a private celebration.”
The win gave Shi her second gold medal in Tokyo. She set a world record of 28.21 seconds in the T36 200 on Aug. 29.
“I’m very happy, it’s what I came here to do,” Shi said. “My family are very proud, they were in tears when we spoke on the phone the other day.”
Gao Fang led a 1-2 finish for the Chinese in the women’s T53 100-meters, finishing in 16.29 seconds to beat Zhou Hongzhuan, who finished in 16.48.
The women’s T54 100-meter gold medal also went to China, with Zhou Zhaoqian racing to the Paralympic title.
Japan’s Momoka Muraoka, who won gold in the women’s sitting giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Games, placed sixth in the event in her Summer Paralympic debut.
Thailand’s Pongsakorn Paeyo won the men’s T53 100-meter title and countryman Athiwat Paeng-Nuea won in the T54 category.
Galina Lipatnikova, representing the Russian Paralympic Committee, won the women’s F36 shot put crown and RPC athlete Musa Taimazov won the men’s F51 club throw.
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