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Queenslanders open up Australian medal count on Day 1 in Rio

9 September 2016

Queenslander Lakeisha 'Lucky' Patterson celebrating her maiden gold medal win on Paralympic Games debut.

Queenslander Lakeisha 'Lucky' Patterson celebrating her maiden gold medal win on Paralympic Games debut.

The 2016 Paralympic Games kicked off with a bang, with the Carnivale atmosphere we’ve come to know and love from Rio very much on display at the Opening Ceremony. Fireworks bookended the celebration, providing much fanfare as our athletes entered the stadium.

The Australian Paralympic Team was the eleventh nation out of 160 to make their way into the stadium, looking every bit the superstars they are in their Australian Team uniforms. Queenslanders make up 41 of the 4,350 athletes to compete in Rio across 22 sports.

The Ceremony finished with a dramatic lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron, declaring the Games officially underway.

Queensland athletes didn’t hold back on Day 1 of competition, with Lakeisha Patterson not only winning a gold medal and breaking the World Record in the S8 classification 400m freestyle event, but achieving the incredible feat on Paralympic debut. The 17 year old broke the record by 0.11 in a thrilling race, winning with a new best time of 4:40.33. She broke the record ahead of previous record holder Jessica Long from Team USA. ‘Lucky’ is off to a great start in her first Games and we’re sure we’ve not seen the last of her on the podium yet.

Queensland shooter Natalie Smith began her Rio campaign, finishing fifth overall in the women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 event. Natalie said after competition that while she would have loved to win gold, she is happy with her performance in a tough competition. Natalie will have plenty more podium opportunities as shooting events continue.

The women’s goalball team began their campaign for Rio gold with a thrilling game against China. Queenslander Meica Horsburgh put the first points on the board within a minute of play, but unfortunately the team was unable to continue the momentum against the top ranked team, going down 5-2. The team will play again on Saturday night (AEST) 11:15pm against Ukraine.

On the wheelchair basketball court, Australia had a fantastic 70-50 win over the Netherlands to kick their Rio competition off with flair. The team will take confidence from the tough win over their European rivals into their Day 2 game against Turkey. They will take to the court on Saturday morning at 1:15am (AEST).

World champion long jumper Carlee Beattie rounded out the night on a high note for the Australian team. She leapt into Maracana Stadium on her birthday to clinch bronze in a tough field of competitors, in an event which came down to the wire. Her jump of 5.57m wasn’t enough to beat Kiwi Anna Grimaldi who jumped a personal best of 5.62m on her last attempt. Carlee can now enjoy her birthday in style, adding bronze to her trophy cabinet alongside the silver medal she brought home from the 2012 London Paralympics and her gold from the 2015 IPC World Championships.

Thrower Claire Keefer will fly the flag for Queensland in the stadium on Day 2 in the women’s F41 shot put final from 11:45pm (AEST).

There’s five medal opportunities for Queenslanders in the pool on Day 2, with heats beginning from 10:50pm (AEST) followed by finals Saturday morning from 6:30am.

For more updates on the action in Rio make sure you check out the QAS Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Last updated
9 September 2016