Brazilian athletes snagged the first track-and-field golds of the Tokyo Paralympics on Friday, as elsewhere defending champions Australia booked their spot in the wheelchair rugby semi-final.
A total of 45 Paralympic golds are up for grabs on Friday, with a range of sports getting started, including archery, athletics and judo, which is being contested at Tokyo’s iconic Budokan venue.
Brazil’s Yeltsin Jacques became the first track gold medallist of the Tokyo Games, squeezing out Japan’s Kenya Karasawa to top the podium in the men’s 5,000m T11 final.
Jacques, who is visually impaired and runs with a guide, said his win was the culmination of five years of training.
“I have speed, I have energy. I’m naturally fast, it’s genetics,” added Jacques, who will also contest the 1,500m and marathon in the T11 category.
Fellow Brazilian Silvania Costa de Oliveira meanwhile took the first gold of the field events, successfully defending the title she won in Rio in the women’s T11 long jump.
And when athletics resumes in the relative cool of the Tokyo evening, eyes will be on the world’s fastest-ever para sprinter, Brazilian Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos, targeting the title of fastest Paralympian in history in the T47 100m.