12 September 2016
PARALYMPICS Days 3 & 4: More Bronze for Ballard & Fearnley
On day four of the Rio Paralympics we witnessed more medals for NSW athletes Kurt Fearnley and Angie Ballard. It was the second medal for Ballard at the Games, while for Fearnley his fourth consecutive in the T54 5000m at the Paralympics.
In a tactical race, it turned out to be a kick down over the last 100m with Fearnley always in the mix in the T54 5000m final.
“About 120m to go my front wheel touched Marcel Hug’s rear right wheel and it took a bit of pace off me,” recalled Fearnley who placed third in a time of 11:02.37, just half a second behind surprise winner, Thailand’s Prawat Wahoram (11:01.71) and Switzerland’s Marcel Hug (11:02.04). Just three seconds separated the top-9 finishers.
“If I could do it again I would do a couple of things slightly different but you don’t dwell on those things over a week like this, it would do your head in.”
This was Fearnley’s fourth consecutive medal in this event.
“For me going through the whole process knowing this is my last 5000m and to get four straight podiums, my last one bronze and a gold and couple of silvers, for me that is absolutely as good as I can do.”
There is little rest for Fearnley as he is back on the track tomorrow night, Rio time.
“Now it is time to move on with the 1500m next and fire up for tomorrow. I can’t make that mistake tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll be back at it and no mistakes.”
In his fifth and last Games, Fearnley is soaking up the atmosphere.
“It is so emotional these Games, there is a lot going through the head. The atmosphere has been beautiful. There has been so much about what these Games will be or could be, but they have exceeded every expectation I had. The village is fantastic, the team is beautiful and this crowd and this atmosphere is just so good. They (the Brazilian crowd) are so engaged, they have really grabbed hold of the Paralympic sports. I have loved racing in front of them.”
Also in her fifth Games is another wheelchair star, Angie Ballard. Competing in her pet event, the T53 400m, Ballard started strongly, but the momentum of China’s Hongzhuan Zhou in the final straight carried her to victory, with Ballard placing third in 55.28.
“I’m a bit bummed but I gave everything I had I can’t ask any more from myself now,” said a disappointed Ballard. Zhou broke Ballard’s world record with a time of 54.43.
“Yes I thought it would take a world record to win this one and it did. “
Ballard a T53 class wheelchair athlete, steps up to the T54 800m event tomorrow.
“Yes a couple more events to go so hopefully something happens in them.”
There were three more NSW athletes in action on days three and four of the Games.
Central Coast’s Rae Anderson arrived in Rio with a personal best of 27.19m in the F38 discus. She lined up ninth amongst the field of 11. After a solid opener of 25.58m, she smashed her PB in round two with 28.46m. She continued strongly twice surpassing her pre-Games best. She eventually placed fifth.
In the women’s T34 100m, Rosemary Little just missed a medal, clocking 19.05 and placing fifth. St George shot putter Nicole Harris was just short of her PB 11.70m, hitting 11.53m in round six of the F20 shot putt competition to place seventh.
TIMETABLE – DAYS FIVE & SIX
Tuesday/Wednesday 13/14 September 2016
00:13 Women’s 200m T36 Round 1 – Tamsin Colley
07:19 Women’s 1500m T54 Round 1 – Angie Ballard, Christie Dawes & Madison de Rozario
07:48 Men’s 1500m T54 Round 1 – Kurt Fearnley
23:50 Women’s 200m T36 Final – Tamsin Colley
07:14 Women’s 1500m T54 Final – Angie Ballard, Christie Dawes & Madison de Rozario
07:22 Men’s 1500m T54 Final – Kurt Fearnley
NSW members of the athletics section of the Australian Paralympic team are:
Rae Anderson [MIN] (T37) Discus, Javelin
Angie Ballard [SYU] (T53) 100m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 4x400m relay
Erin Cleaver [MQH] (T38) 100m, long jump, 4x100m relay
Tamsin Colley [RBH] (T36) 200m
Christie Dawes [MQH] (T54) 1500m, 5000m, marathon, 4x400m relay
Taylor Doyle [GIR] (T38) Long jump
Jodi Elkington [HIL] (T37) 100m, long jump, 4x100m relay
Kurt Fearnley [MQH] (T54) 1500m, 5000m, marathon, 4x400m relay
Nicole Harris [STG] (F20) Shot
Guy Henly [HIL] (T37) Discus
Rosemary Little [HIL] (T34) 100m, 400m, 800m
Evan O’Hanlon [UTN] (T38) 100m, 400m
Scott Reardon (T42) 100m
James Turner [WOL] (T36) 800m
Sarah Walsh [SUT] (T44) 100m, Long jump
For more information about the timetable, athlete profiles and statistics, visit Athletics Australia’s website: Rio Rumble.
Channel Seven will deliver live broadcast and digital coverage of the Paralympic Games on 7TWO and across the Screens of Seven with 7Live. http://www.athletics.com.au/News/how-to-watch-the-paralympics
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Kurt Fearnley (Getty Images)