Kadeena Cox expecting a tough defence of 400m Paralympic title, Yorkshire duo target Basketball bronze
Kadeena Cox might have reached the T38 400m final but admits she didn’t expect she’d have to work quite so hard to do it.
The Leeds Paralympian, who has already won two cycling gold medals in Tokyo, finished second in her heat and crossed the line in 1:02.51.
Cox is bidding to defend the title and repeat her exploits from Rio five years ago when she became the first British Paralympian to win gold in two different sports since 1984.
However, on this evidence she will have her work cut out after a high-quality race at the Olympic Stadium.
The 30-year-old made a fast start and led after 200m but faded down the back straight and was hanging on to the line, while Colombia’s Darian Faisury Jimenez soared past her to win.
“I wanted to automatically qualify but I didn’t think I would have to run that fast to do it. I also didn’t think I’d run a five second season best but I am really happy with that,” she said.
“It’s nice to have made this final. It is the first time we have had rounds so it was a bit of a shock to the system so I’ll go back and recover.
“Hopefully I can top off a great Games tomorrow.”
Cox has hardly trained on the athletics track this season and is treating the 400m as a bonus event in Tokyo.
She faces the tricky task of running in lane eight in the final and so will be unable to see her competitors around the two bends.
However, the first round has prepared Cox for a battle and she now knows what she’s coming up against.
“I knew I’d be able to go quite a bit quicker than I’ve been doing,” she added.
“I wanted to be able to shut down near the end but I had to fight to the line. I knew as soon as I was in a line with the girls, it was a fight to the end.”
Barnsley’s Ian Sagar and Middlesbrough’s Terry Bywater tasted Paralympic semi-final defeat but still have a shot at wheelchair basketball bronze despite Great Britain’s 79-68 defeat to Japan.
Player-coach Gaz Choudhry starred again with 26 points and took his side into a 36-33 half-time lead but the hosts surged back in the second half.
ParalympicsGB won bronze in the sport at Rio 2016 and face Spain on Sunday with the chance of bringing home a medal for the fourth Games in five.
“We’re absolutely devastated,” said Choudhry. “All credit to Japan – they beat us, we didn’t lose that game. They pressed us really well and they kept the intensity up. Our preparation hasn’t been ideal, everyone knows that. But there’s nothing specific we’ve done wrong, it’s just tournament play and we weren’t good enough today.
“This team is really special, really resilient and we’re going to need that when we go for the bronze medal.”
Britain set the pace to lead 23-15 after the first quarter. Abdi Jama lighting up the early stages with four field goals and enjoying his time on the left of the key.
Lee Manning’s size was tough for the hosts to handle but they eventually got to grips with the British offence and Ryuga Akaishi’s three-pointer highlighted a turnaround.
Having led by early in the second quarter, Britain lost momentum and Gregg Warburton’s sloppy turnover late in the half summed up the shift. Scoring dried up for Choudry’s side in the second half, outscored 19-12 by their opponents in the third and going five from 15 in the field.
Renshi Chokai and Hiroaki Kozai were the chief tormentors, with 18 and 17 points respectively as the hosts set up a grandstand gold medal final against USA.
Meanwhile, there was heartache for Doncaster’s Joanna Butterfield in the F1 club throw as she finished fourth, missing out on a medal by 31 centimetres. *8
*Sainsbury’s is a proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers to eat better has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/ and https://paralympics.org.uk/