The New Zealand Paralympic team has won two more medals in Tokyo highlighted by William Stedman’s silver in the T36 long jump.
Stedman, who collected bronze in the 400 and 800 metres at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, was sitting fifth going into the sixth and final round of jumps.
He saved his best for last to claim silver with a leap of 5.64 metres.
It was a personal best and an Oceania record.
The Russian Paralympic Committee’s Evgenii Torsunov won gold with 5.76m, while Ukranian bronze medallist Roman Pavlyk was just one centimetre shy of Stedman’s mark.
After taking silver, Stedman struggled to come to terms with his achievement.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed that was a massive roller coaster of a competition and I still don’t think it has quite sunk in yet.
“From those last three rounds it was a real mental battle and I just gave that last jump everything. I actually thought it was a bad jump and thought that was it and then I saw the 5.64 come up on the screen.
“I’m feeling really elated and I just don’t think it has sunk in yet.”
Stedman revealed he had to overcome some adversity to stand on the podium in Tokyo.
“I’ve had a stress fracture for the last few months and we have had to modify training a little bit so I’m stoked to come out and get this. Big shout out to George and Simeon my two coaches they have worked so hard to get me in shape to medal here.”
Earlier, New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian, Sophie Pascoe won her first bronze Paralympic medal.
The nine-time gold medallist finished third in the women’s S9 100 metres backstroke.
Pascoe, the world record holder in the event, looked on track for a 10th gold when she touched at the halfway point in front.
But the Cantabrian was unable to maintain that pace, fading in the final 50 metres to finish third behind American Hannah Aspden and Nuria Marques Soto of Spain.
It was Pascoe’s 17th Paralympic medal overall, and second medal of these Games after she earlier picked up silver in the 100 metres breastroke.
She now has nine gold, seven silver and one bronze medal, but she wasn’t completely pleased with her performance in the backstroke.
“Yeah I’m not going to lie; it was a really tough time to take in. I have never swum slower in a Paralympic final, ever, but it was a gutsy in the last 25 (metres) and that’s all I could have asked for of myself.
“Obviously, I went out in a world class 50 (metre) time, which goes to slow that I had it over the first 75 (metres).
“The girls just came back at me in that last 25 (metres). Look I’m just proud of myself for gutsing it out, keeping the kick compact and keeping the stroke rate up. Tough race but proud to get on the podium and that’s all I wanted.
“I don’t know if you saw me at the end of the race, I was buggered!”
When asked about adding a bronze to her gold and silver collection she laughed: “First ever bronze medal from a Paralympic Games, so a new colour to add to the collection. We’re calling this one Rosé.”
Pascoe will be back on Tuesday in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 and again on Wednesday in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9 and on Thursday in the Women’s 100m Butterfly.
“This is going to be the hard bit now, getting into these next three events. They are also my three favourite events, all in a row, so big heavy schedule for the next three days.
“I haven’t done a heavy schedule like this since Rio so it is going to be more challenging that anything I’ve done over the past year, to prove that I can get up on that podium position.
“And what you saw tonight is that new era of girls that have had that extra year of training, which is exciting.
“They’re the ones that are chasing me and challenging me and they’re certainly putting on a good show! I love a fight. You saw that in the pool today, and I can dig deep when I need to. And that’s what I will definitely be doing over the next three days.”
Fellow swimmer Jesse Reynolds finished 6th in the finals of the Men’s 100m Backstroke S9 in a time of 1:04.60.
Reynolds set a personal best and broke a New Zealand record with a 1:04:58 time earlier, to finish 3rd in Heat 1 and enter the finals 6th fastest.
He will compete again in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley on Wednesday and the Men’s 100m Butterfly S9 on Thursday.
Five-time Paralympian Michael Johnson finished 6th in the R4 – Mixed 10m Air Rifle Standing SH2.
Johnson had an outstanding qualifying round, finishing second with a total score of 633.7.
“I’m feeling disappointed that I couldn’t have come away with a medal and I couldn’t have had some better shots. I had some really good ones, some 10.8s and 10.7s that were bringing me back in. I’m really glad I wasn’t first eliminated… that (would be) scary.
“I could see myself getting better and better. It depends. You’ve got plenty of time to take your shot but if it’s a little wobbly, which it was today, its easy to make mistakes.”
Johnson has two more medal opportunities in Tokyo and will be back in the shooting range on Wednesday for the R5 – Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2 Qualification and Finals (if qualified) and Saturday for the R9 – Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH2 Qualification and Finals (if qualified).
“This is definitely the hottest Paralympics I’ve been to. It’s quite special too, because the Japanese people are just amazing. They’re so kind and so nice and they will do just anything to help you. It’s a testament to the Japanese people, really going above and beyond to make this happen and support us. So huge thanks.”