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‘Your performances have lifted the nation’: Queen congratulates ParalympicsGB team as Games end

Written by on 04/09/2021

The Queen has sent a message to the ParalympicsGB team, saying their “performances have lifted the nation”, after the athletes celebrated beating their 120 medal total at the London 2012 games.

Falling short of Rio’s 147 medals, Great Britain’s Paralympians won a total of 124, placing them second in the Tokyo Paralympics medal table.

Made up of 41 gold, 38 silver and 45 bronze, GB managed to secure titles in 18 of the 19 sports entered – more than any country has ever achieved at the Games.

Fireworks explode during the closing ceremony for the 2020 Paralympics at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Image: Fireworks explode during the closing ceremony

First in the medal table was China, which won a total of 207 medals made up of 96 gold, 60 silver and 51 bronze.

In a message to the Paralympic competitors for Great Britain, the Queen offered her “warmest congratulations” for their “enormous success” at the Games.

“The commitment, dedication and adaptability shown by you, and your support teams, during the exceptional circumstances of the last 18 months has been inspirational.

“Your performances have lifted the nation and your triumphs been celebrated by us all.

More on Tokyo 2020 – Paralympics

“I send my very best wishes to all those who have contributed to the success of these memorable Games”, the monarch added.

During the closing ceremony, a parade of Paralympians took place, dancers dressed as butterflies and flowers performed, mascots waved to crowds and fireworks went off around the outside of the stadium.

Paralympic Closing Ceremony is held at National Stadium in Tokyo on Sep. 5, 2021. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )
Image: Paralympic Closing Ceremony is held at National Stadium

Athletes were invited to put a “mirror of brilliance” on a smaller scale of the world’s tallest tower, the Tokyo SkyTree as they entered the arena.

The closing ceremony saw, David Smith, the most successful Paralympic boccia player in British history, carry the Union Jack, as a small number of athletes entered the arena alongside him.

Flag bearers from Britain enter the stadium during the closing ceremony for the 2020 Paralympics at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Image: Flag bearers from Britain enter the stadium

Smith retained his BC1 individual title to claim his fifth Paralympic medal after beating Malaysia’s Chew Wei Lun 4-2 in the final on Wednesday.

In the process, the 32-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, surpassed his mentor and former team-mate Nigel Murray as Britain’s most successful player in the sport.

He said: “It is an unbelievable honour to be leading out the ParalympicsGB team at the Paralympic Games closing ceremony.

“Not only am I representing the sport that I love, but the wider ParalympicsGB team too.”

On the final day of the competition, GB Paralympian David Weir said he will consider his future in the coming weeks after finishing fifth in the men’s T54 marathon.

The six-time Paralympic champion last won a medal at London 2012.

Bronze for Great Britain in basketball and badminton brought down the curtain on a medal-laden campaign, after the men’s team defeated Spain 68-58 in their third-place play-off.

Gaz Choudhry was once again GB’s top scorer, registering 19 points, with Terry Bywater adding 14.

Krysten Coombs then had the final say with the shuttlecock.

Performers take part in the closing ceremony at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in Tokyo on Sep. 5, 2021. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )
Image: Performers take part in the closing ceremony

He bounced back from Saturday’s semi-final loss to second seed Krishna Nagar by coming from a game down to beat Brazil’s Vitor Goncalves Tavares in the SH6 bronze medal match.

Great Britain won four of its gold medals on the penultimate day of the competition

Among them was Hannah Cockcroft’s seventh gold after she cruised to victory in the T34 800m wheelchair race despite a hand injury and poor weather conditions.

Amid heavy rain at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, the 29-year-old from Yorkshire suffered a nasty cut to her right hand after catching it in her chair.

But she managed to finish 10 seconds ahead of her teammate, Britain’s Kare Adenegan, who got silver.

Despite being “gutted” to have fallen 0.12 seconds short of her own world record set in Switzerland earlier this year, Cockcroft said she was “happy” with the result.

Aled Davies with his gold on the podium
Image: Aled Davies with his gold on the podium

On the challenging conditions, she said: “Wheelchairs and rain don’t mix so I slipped off the rim and there’s not really much space to slip into so it went straight in.”

But she said she was determined to carry on, adding: “Even if my hand’s fallen off I was going to be on that start line.”

Aled Davies also added to his collection of golds after securing his third in the F63 shotput event.

He too suffered torrential rain in Tokyo, but came out top for ParalympicGB with a throw of 15.33m.

Laura Sugar celebrates her gold
Image: Laura Sugar celebrates her gold
Charlotte Henshaw and Emma Wiggs (left)
Image: Charlotte Henshaw and Emma Wiggs (left)

“The conditions were great up until a few days ago, which is a shame because I was ready to deliver a big performance, but it doesn’t matter now, I’m going home with the colour of medal I came for,” the 30-year-old said afterwards.

The other two golds came on the water, with Charlotte Henshaw winning the KL2 200m paracanoe race and Laura Sugar the KL3 200m.

Henshaw switched from swimming to canoeing in 2017 after securing a bronze in London and a silver in Rio.

Emma Wiggs wins silver
Image: Emma Wiggs wins silver

Britain’s Emma Wiggs came away with silver in the KL3 competition, having won gold in the VL2 200m on Friday.

Outside of the golds, ParalympicsGB secured four silvers and three bronzes on Saturday, taking the total to 28 silver and 45 bronze.

Daniel Bethell won Britain’s first-ever Paralympic badminton medal, getting silver after his defeat against India’s Pramod Bhagat in the SL3 final.

Daniel Bethell secures silver for Great Britain
Image: Daniel Bethell secures silver for Great Britain

Bethell, 25, who has cerebral palsy, was beaten 2-0 by the top seed.

The other silvers were won by Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley after they lost against the Netherlands in the women’s double tennis final.

It tops the bronzes they won at both Rio and London.

Saturday’s bronze medals were won by May Truesdale in the para-taekwondo, Gordon Reid in the wheelchair tennis single’s and Stuart Wood in the canoe VL2 200m.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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