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THE HERALD FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16 2016


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73


At the Paralympic Village in Barra: Aled Sion Davies


but I tried to put that to the back of my mind and seize the moment. “I didn’t expect to throw that far


but I’ve trained hard and rehab has even made me stronger in many ways. “It is pretty surreal really. It was


just one of those days when everything went right. “I knew I had to go out there and


perform to my absolute best. I wanted to put myself into a strong position and I think I led the whole way. “I didn’t even think it was my last


throw on world record effort. So when it came up on the board as 43.01m. I just thought, ‘oh wow!’ - I just burst into tears. I never expected it to go that far.”


Shortly after Hollie’s gold came


another for Rob Davies in the men’s Class 1 table tennis. A confident performance saw him defeat Korea’s Joo, 3-1. Davies has been excellent in


Iran’s Sajad Mohammadian


claimed silver with a throw of 14.31m, while South African Tyrone Pillay picked up bronze. Jodie Grinham, with partner John


Stubbs, secured a superb silver in the archery mixed team compound open, succumbing to the Chinese in the final after defeating the Korean pair by a single point in a dramatic semi-final. Stephen Thomas started his sailing


campaign with the first two rounds of the Mixed Three-Person Keelboat (Sonar), finishing in 11th place overall after 11th and ninth place finishes. Jordan Howe put in a superb effort


in the Mens T35 200m final, but sadly missed the medal spots, finishing in a respectable seventh position. Philip Pratt and his GB teammates


finished second in their group, following a 65-48 defeat to USA in their final group game.


TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 There were two gold medals for


Welsh competitors in the space of an hour across different venues in Rio. First it was gold - and a double


world record – for Hollie Arnold as she claimed the F46 javelin title.


Rob Davies: A star at table tennis A baking hot day in the Olympic


stadium didn’t prevent her from throwing a 41.68m to break the world record on her second throw. But she saved the best for last with a magnificent throw of 43.01 to beat her closest rival – Holly Robinson of New Zealand – by almost 2.5m. Hollie was born in Grimsby but


now lives in Ystrad Mynach and trains in Cardiff. Hollie, now 22, was the youngest


member of the Paralympics GB athletics team when she competed, aged just 14, in Beijing, finishing 11th. She placed fifth at London 2012 but has since won two world titles. “This has been my absolute dream


for so long; I can’t believe that I’m Paralympic champion and also a double world champion,” said Hollie. “I’ve been injured for two months, so preparations have not been ideal


Brazil over the last week, winning all his group games before convincingly defeating Hungary’s Endre Major in the semi-final to book his place in the final.


And Davies defeated his Korean


opponent Young Dae Joo in the final in four games (14-12, 4-11, 11-9, 11-5). Just 24 hours after teammate Will


Bayley took singles Class 7 gold, Davies matched that achievement with victory in the Class 1 gold medal match. The 32-year-old, who did not


progress past the preliminaries at London 2012, took the first game 14- 12 before his opponent immediately hit back to level in the next. Another close game followed in


the third but double European singles champion Davies kept his nerve to edge it 11-9. And with the momentum building,


Davies raced into a 6-1 in the fourth before then taking the score to 9-5 and adding the final two points to clinch the title after 31 minutes.


Rachel Morris: Interviewed by Sky TV after winning her gold medal


Davies, who also plays in the


men’s team Class 1-2 quarter-final against Brazil, said: “I’m not really sure what to think at the moment, It’s amazing. “I can’t believe I kept it together;


I have never beaten him before. I’ve only ever lost to him twice so to keep it together at the end was great. “I’ve just got to thank so many


people. I’ve been working so hard and it’s paid off today. I’m just really chuffed. I’ve got a gold medal for Paralympics GB! “My family and friends have been


amazing. I hope my twin brother has enjoyed this too - I’ve done it for him. “I’m getting married next year,


that’s the next thing on the agenda.” Davies, who marries fiancee Meg


next year, hopes anyone in a similar situation will take inspiration from his performance. “I just hope I’ve inspired them to


get out there and live their life to the full,” he added. “It’s not the end of the world. Just


get out there, work your butt off and enjoy life. “You can still be happy, as I am


now. That’s the main thing.” Davies will now partner up with


fellow Welshman Paul Davies to attempt another medal in the team competition. The women’s wheelchair


basketball team defeated China 57- 38 to progress to a Paralympic Games semi-final for the first time in their history. Clare Griffiths and company will now face the winners of the match between USA and hosts Brazil. Gemma Collis faced stiff


competition in the elimination rounds of the wheelchair fencing. She won two matches out of five


in the pool stages, with China’s Zou finishing confidently at the top of her pool after winning all five matches. And it was Zou who proved too great an opponent in the quarter-finals, defeating Collis 15-2. The day started well for archer


Dave Phillips as he defeated home favourite Francisco Cordeiro 6-2 in the open 1/16 elimination round at the Sambodromo to set up a clash with Iranian Rabjbarkivaj. But the Brit was unable to maintain


the momentum, going down 6-4 after losing the decisive fifth set 25-23. On the track, Steve Morris finished


a respectable sixth in the final of the 1500m T20. Stephen Thomas and the Sonar


crew are currently in 12th place overall with eight races to complete. Hopefully, in next week’s column


for the Herald, I will be reporting on further gold medals for the Welsh contingent. Tchau!


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