Athletics highlights – August 27th: first-time Paralympian Mayhugh wins gold

Also Partially written by Ryan Abella

TOKYO, Japan— It was a day to remember as Team USA ran the circuit around their competitors, and in some cases, came out on top.

Nick Mayhugh will bring home gold from his very first Paralympic games, setting a world record and a Paralympic record to boot with a time of 10.95. He described feeling a “rush of joy” at his victory.

Nick Mayhugh USA wins the Gold Medal in the Men’s 100m T37 Final. Athletics in the Olympic Stadium. Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Tokyo, Japan, Friday 27 August 2021. Photo: OIS/Bob Martin. Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC

Mayhugh said his win felt unbelievable after all his hard work in getting there.

“I knew that as soon as I get up and hit my top speed, no one in the world can catch me. I think I could’ve ran faster if I didn’t celebrate early, but I’ll take the new world record and a gold medal,” he said.

He said he wouldn’t be where he is without his friends and family pushing him through every step of the way, his “loyal circle.”

Mayhugh wasn’t the only Team USA competitor who medaled at Track & Field tonight.

Raymond Martin won silver in the men’s 400m T51 and nearly broke the Paralympic record with a time of 55.59, but he narrowly lost gold to Japan’s Tomoki Sato, who pulled ahead right at the last minute at 55.39. This is Martin’s 8th medal and his second silver; the other 6 are gold.

“I had the lead for about 350 meters, and then the gold medalist came up at the end,” Martin said. “It was a great race, we both ran really good times.”

Martin said he was looking forward to the 100m at the end of the week, but that the 1500m would also be a very good race.

In the same race, Gianfranco Iannotta and Isaiah Rigo ranked 4th and 9th respectively.

Adding to the Team USA’s victories was five-time Paralympian Lex Gillete winning silver in the men’s long jump T11 with a 6.17 mark– his fifth silver in his Paralympic career. China’s Dongdong di got the gold with a mark of 6.47.

“I was in a good headspace. I felt strong, I felt powerful, and the marks just didn’t align with what I needed,” Gillette said.

He’s been a Paralympian for 17 years, and he’s grateful for it.

“I’m glad to have been around for this long, and then able to get on podiums and represent Team USA,” he said.

Lex Gillette takes off in mid-air during the Long Jump on August 27, 2021. (PHOTO CREDIT: Lev Radin)

Other Team USA Americans who competed today:

Daniel Romanchuk ranked 2nd in the men’s 5000m T54/53 heat, where Aaron Pike ranked 5th and Brian Siemann ranked 6th.

Jaleen Roberts ranked 6th in the women’s 200m T37, and Tanner Wright ranked 7th in the men’s 100m T47.

In the women’s 400m T45, Danielle Aravich was ranked 5th, and Liza Corso ranked 4th.

Noah Malone (age 19), cruised to victory in his first race of Tokyo 2020, as he put up a personal best 10.55 seconds in the 100-meter T12 heats. That heat victory puts him into the finals on Sunday night, where he’ll face stiff competition from the Norwegian Salum Ageze Kashafali, who broke the Paralympic record in his respective heat at 10.46 seconds.

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