There are still many great athletes to see in action in Japan. This Wednesday, the program features names like Colombian Mauricio Valencia, reigning Paralympic champion and world record holder in the men’s F34 javelin. Another name is road cyclist Luca Mazzone of Italy who will compete in his fifth Paralympic Games – the second as a cyclist.
Several para badminton stars are to watch on Day 8 of Tokyo 2020, as the sport makes its debut on the Paralympic Games program. Among the names to remember are Qu Zimo (China), Briton Daniel Bethell and Sarina Satomi of Japan, local medal hopeful.
Mauricio Valence (COL) – athletics
As the reigning Paralympic champion and world record holder, Colombian Valencia is the favorite for gold in the men’s F34 javelin. The 33-year-old from Cali is the back-to-back world champion of London 2017 and Dubai 2019. Valencia set the second best score of the year at the Dubai World Para Athletics Grand Prix in February, while compatriot Diego Meneses Medina pitched the javelin even further at the Tunis GP.
Luca Mazzone (ITA) – road cycling
Tokyo 2020 will be Mazzone’s fifth Paralympic Games but second as a cyclist. He won Paralympic medals in swimming, but his first gold medals came in cycling at Rio 2016, where he won the time trial and silver in the H2 road race. He also helped Italy celebrate gold in the team relay, and the Italian is not slowing down, having won two world titles in 2019. In Japan, he has already won silver in the time trial. H2 men.
Qu Zimo (CHN) – para badminton
Ranked No. 1 in the world, Qu had a sensational 2019 when he became world champion in men’s singles WH1 and doubles WH1-2. He finished the year with triple crowns (singles, doubles and mixed doubles) at the China and Turkish Para-Badminton Internationals. On top of all that, he’s still a rising talent, turning 20 just before the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony.
Jessica Long (USA) – swimming
The American superstar is the only one of the top five current female para swimming medalists still competing. The 23-time medalist and 13-time S8 Paralympic champion could climb to second in the top five if she can add to her 13 gold, six silver and four bronze medals in Tokyo. Born in Siberia with a rare disease that required the amputation of her legs, she was adopted by an American family from a Russian orphanage at the age of one. At 12, Long made his international debut at the 2004 Athens Games as the youngest on the U.S. team and won three gold medals to showcase his potential. Tokyo 2020 will be its fifth Games.
Daniel Bethell (GBR) – para badminton
Bethell competes in the SL3 men’s singles and doubles events and is a three-time European champion. The southpaw is currently ranked second in the world, with his last major victory coming at the Japan International in December 2019. His toughest match will be India’s Pramod Bhagat, who spoiled Bethell’s gold hopes in the tournament. a remarkable return to the 2019 Worlds in Basel. , Switzerland. Expect the Briton to come back stronger.
Sarina Satomi (JPN) – para badminton
A year after entering the sport, Satomi was selected to compete in her first international competition in Thailand in 2018 and since then she has not looked back. At first, she saw herself as a doubles player, teaming up with Yuma Yamakazi in the women’s WH1-2 as the top-ranked duo. However, she developed a taste for singles, seeing her potential with the gold medal at Basel 2019 and the possibility of winning a double gold in front of a home crowd this summer.
Markus Rehm (GER) – athletics
The three-time Paralympic long jumper champion will travel to Tokyo with gold and a new world record in mind – he currently holds the 8.48m in the men’s T64. One of the best international stars of the Paralympic movement, the German recently extended his unbeaten run with a gold crown from the 2019 World Championships.
Grigorios Polychronidis (GRE) – boccia
Polychronidis, who is also called Greg, entered boccia with the dream of competing in his Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004. This dream came true after finding himself in the quarterfinals of the individual BC3 event. in Athens. But reaching the Paralympic Games was not the end goal. Over the next three Paralympic Games, Polychronidis felt the heartache of missing out on an individual title. The Greek eventually clinched his first major individual gold medal at the 2018 World Championships, where he defeated South Korean Howon Jeong, the same opponent he lost to in the gold medal match at the Paralympics. 2016. After a European title in 2019, the veteran athlete has experience on his side as he strives for Paralympic glory.