All the action from day eight of the Tokyo Paralympics.
4.10pm: Mead gets another fifth placed finish
Para-cyclist Rory Mead has completed a gruelling men’s H1-2 road race in fifth place.
Mead, who also finished fifth in yesterday’s time trial in Paralympic debut, crossed the line at Fuji International Speedway in a time of 2 hours 23 minutes and 8 seconds.
That left the Kiwi – a former top motocross rider – more than 33 minutes behind gold-medal winner Florian Jouanny of France after 52.8 kilometres of racing.
3.50pm: Johnson just misses final
Veteran shooter Michael Johnson has barely missed out on a chance to add another Paralympic medal to his collection.
Johnson, 47, fell agonisingly short of the top-eight place he needed in qualifying to book a spot in the final of the R5 mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2, finishing ninth with a score of 635.2 points.
That left the Kiwi 0.2 points outside of the top eight and meant he came away empty-handed from a second event in Tokyo.
Johnson, who won gold in Athens 2004 and picked up a bronze at each of the next two Games, has one event to come on Saturday, the R9 mixed 50m rifle prone SH2.
2.20pm: Aitchison storms into 100m final
Danielle Aitchison is hoping to go one better in the 100m after claiming silver in the T36 200m earlier this week.
The Kiwi sprinter eased into the final of the T36 100m with a first placed finish in the heats with a time of 14.35, the best out of the finalists.
She finished ahead of the ROC’s Elena Ivanova, who had the second best qualifying time.
The final is tonight at 10.10pm.
1.50pm: Neiufi into another final
Backstroke gold medal winner Tupou Neiufi has qualified fourth fastest for tonight’s 50m freestyle S8 final.
The medal race has opened up with British star Alice Tai pulling out of the Tokyo Games because of injury.
Neiufi was second in her heat with a time nearly a second slower than Brazil’s Xenia Palazzo, the third fastest qualifier. The final is at 10.37pm.
1.20pm: Pascoe makes statement in medley heats
Kiwi swim star Sophie Pascoe confirmed her overwhelming favouritism in the 200m SM9 individual medley with a brilliant heat win.
The medley supremo is expected to win gold in a canter at 9.39pm tonight. The world record holder’s time is about 10 seconds better than the next best at Tokyo.
Having already won her 10th Paralympics gold medal after some initial battles at these Games, she looks ready to hit her best form.
Pascoe wowed the commentators with what they called a near perfect swim. She eased up in her heat but still had the fastest time, just ahead of Zsofia Konkoly of Hungary.
Pascoe said she was still feeling the effects of her freestyle gold medal win the night before.
“I’m really happy with that swim,” she said after the medley heat.
“It’s the first time being ranked first going into a final here – it’s nice being in those yellow lanes, especially in the 200 IM. It gives me a little perspective around the pool, see what’s going on during the breaststroke.
“The body was a little tender from last night – it was actually a good flush out.
“I just felt really casual this morning, I wanted to make it really casual. I had strict plans to keep it easy, because I do tend to as soon as race mode goes I’m off. I wanted to pace it nicely.
“I know it will be tough tonight, these girls will definitely push me … the next generation coming through.”
Jesse Reynolds qualified seventh fastest for the men’s 200m individual medley final at 9.30pm tonight, with two swimmers disqualified in the heats. It would be a surprise if Reynolds was in the medal hunt, going on the heat times.
12.10pm: Howarth into breaststroke final
Nikita Howarth, one of the Kiwi success stories in Rio five years ago, easily qualified for the women’s 100m SB7 breaststroke final at 8.07pm tonight.
Russian Mariia Pavlova stamped herself as the favourite with the most impressive performance in the heats, although a four or five-way battle for the medals is predicted.
Hamilton’s Howarth became New Zealand’s youngest Paralympian in London nine years ago, when aged 13, and won gold and silver in medley and butterfly events at Rio.
She had a highly promising crack at cycling before returning to the water for these Games.
Howarth said after her heat that she nearly didn’t make it to Tokyo because of a broken arm suffered in a skateboard accident four months ago. But a surgeon had advised her it was safe to do so.
“I’ve got no expectations because of the broken arm,” she said.
“It was quite difficult for a while … then I decided to see a surgeon who said you are not going to damage it any further. So I decided to give it a go.
“My coach told me not to go super ahead (in the heat) so I’ve got a little bit more tonight for the final.”
ICYMI: Pascoe wins 10th gold
Sophie Pascoe claimed her 10th Paralympic gold medal, with victory in the S9 100m freestyle last night.
Pascoe is the first New Zealander to reach 10 gold medals at the summer games – a feat fewer than 40 athletes have accomplished – to go with her seven silvers and one bronze.
She was slightly slow off the blocks but took the lead after 30m and was a body-length ahead at the turn.
Despite slowing over the final 25m, she held off the charging Sarai Gascon and Mariano Ribeiro to win by 0.4 seconds in a time of 1:02.37.
Pascoe is back in the pool today at 1pm in the women’s SM9 200m individual medley heats, where she is chasing her fourth medal of these Games.
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