Australia’s Paralympic Games started on a grand note on the opening day of competition in Tokyo, with the first two gold medals at the Games being won within a remarkable 15 minutes at the Velodrome in Izu. Paige Greco, who set a world record in qualifying for the women’s C3 individual 3000m pursuit final, bettered her own benchmark against China’s Wang Xiaomi to claim the country’s first medal. Barely a quarter-hour later, teammate Emily Petricola, 41, made it a double with victory in the C-4 classification, which also broke the world record for reaching the gold medal final.
So impressive was Petricola’s victory over rival and silver medalist Shawn Morelli, he overtook the American on his way to victory well before completing the 3,000m. Petricola, who was diagnosed with MS at age 27, paid tribute to two-time Olympic rower Matt Ryan and five-time Olympic cyclist Shane Kelly in an emotional post-race interview, when the pair’s encouragement and support helped. had helped him. during his cycling career.
“Words cannot describe how grateful I am for everything Matt Ryan and Shane Kelly have done for me,” she told Channel Seven. “He’s changed my life and he’s saved my life. I was in such a dark place when Matt suggested this.” Australia’s world records were among seven new benchmarks set on the opening day of cycling, and two gold medals propelled the team to the top of the nascent medal table.