LONDON, England ● There is no let-up in the medal action as athletes compete for a place on the podium across eight different sports on Day 6 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Reigning Paralympic Games champions Brazil top the bill as the first Boccia medals are handed out, but they will face a tough battle to retain their Pairs – BC4 title as they go head-to-head with Beijing 2008 bronze medallists the Czech Republic.
‘We have played Czech Republic before and we know that it’s a strong team,’ said Brazil’s Eliseu dos Santos. ‘Thank God we are in the final and we are sure that it’s going to be a gold medal.’
But dos Santos’ team-mate Dirceu Pinto stressed the duo had higher aspirations than winning gold. ‘We want to make everyone proud who had their lives changed because of sport. In our case, sport has really helped us with our disability,’ he said.
In the day’s other Boccia finals, 2008 bronze medallists Portugal take on Greece in a battle to be crowned Pairs – BC3 champions, while an all-Asia clash sees China take on Thailand as the Mixed Team – BC1-2 competition reaches its climax.
In the Olympic Stadium, Great Britain’s David Weir will be hoping to add a 1500m – T54 gold medal to the one he already has after victory over 5000m on Sunday night.
The home favourite has produced one of the Games’ most memorable moments so far and is aiming to enjoy the adulation of the capacity crowd once again, but he admits it has been tough to come down from the high of his gold medal glory.
‘At first it is [difficult],’ he said. ‘But when you talk to your family members and stuff like that [you calm down]. I had to put a film on last night on my laptop just to make sure I fell asleep.’
In the field events, the men’s Long Jump – F11 looks set to be one of the most hotly-contested finals of the day as all three 2008 medal winners return to jump for gold.
China’s Li Duan was the victor last time around, but world record holder and Beijing 2008 silver medallist Elexis Gillette of the USA has set the standard so far this season and will be the man to beat in the Olympic Stadium.
A strong performance from the pair, along with Athanasios Barakas of Greece, could see the same trio grace the podium for a second Games running.
Over at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Danielle Brown, who won non-disabled team gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, returns to Paralympic Archery action in the women’s Individual Compound – Open semi-finals.
The reigning Paralympic champion could meet fellow Briton Mel Clarke in the final later in the afternoon if both archers are successful in their last-four matches.
Medals are also on offer in Equestrian, Powerlifting, Shooting, Swimming, and Wheelchair Fencing.