British boccia ace David Smith secured his second successive individual Paralympic gold by battling back to retain his crown with a tense victory in Tokyo.
World champion Smith – title-winner in Rio five years ago – once again topped the podium in the BC1 class, getting the better of Malaysia’s Chew Wei Lun.
The 32-year-old, who sports a distinctive crop of red and blue spiky hair, slipped 2-0 behind following the opening end at Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
But he levelled with consecutive one-point wins, before being left in tears after edging the decider to claim glory.
His 4-2 success brought Great Britain’s first gold of day eight of the Games and ParalympicsGB’s 30th in Tokyo.
Smith’s previous feats include team gold at Beijing 2008, as well as individual silver and team bronze in London. He is now the most successful boccia player in British history.
Bronze for Rumary on debut
Also on day eight, archer Victoria Rumary won bronze on her Paralympic debut in the W1 women’s individual event in Tokyo.
Having defeated Brazilian Rejane Candida Da Silva and Italy’s Asia Pellizzari earlier on Wednesday, the 33-year-old was denied progression to the gold medal match by a 127-107 loss to Czech Sarka Musilova.
Rumary recovered from that setback to earn the final podium place at Yumenoshima Final Field courtesy of a 131-123 success against American Lia Coryell.
Rumary first took up archery as a 14-year-old, made her international debut six years ago, and came into these games ranked world No 1 in the W1 category.
“My coach said I can finally have some chocolate cake tonight after the competition. And now I’ve got my medal she said ‘yeah you can finally have your chocolate cake’, so I’m looking forward to that,” she said.
“I just want to say thank you very much, to all my family. My mum and dad, who have driven me all over the country to competitions, so I could actually get here, I want to thank them and tell them ‘I love you all’.
“I also want to thank everyone for all the support from back home, from my club, my personal coach, Tony, couldn’t be here either.
“But I’ve had a great team here in Tokyo, who have all really supported us and I’m really, really pleased.”
There was a second bronze medal for ParalympicsGB in the table tennis. The men’s class 8 team of Aaron McKibbin, Billy Shilton and Ross Wilson secured it after a semi-final loss to China.
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