Aussie swimmer Tiffany Thomas Kane has won an emotional bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympics just months after rupturing her liver.
Just months after she ruptured her liver, Australian swimmer Tiffany Thomas Kane has won an emotional bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.
The 20-year-old thought her chances of adding to the four medals she won in Rio in 2016 were over when she fell ill at the start of the year.
But she not only made it back in the water but also got back on the podium when she placed third in the women’s 200m individual medley in the SB7 class.
“I thought I might not even make the team with what happened to my liver but I’m here today with a bronze medal. I just can’t believe it,” she told Channel 7.
Thomas Kane, who has a disorder limiting her height, broke down in tears when she talked about how difficult her build up to Tokyo had been, including the loss of her grandmother, but said those memories helped her get to the wall in third place.
“I was just in so much pain but I just told myself to keep moving, don’t slow down, kick those legs,” she said.
“I could see the other girls catching up so I just had to keep going, keep going, it was crazy.
“When Covid hit Sydney on the way to Tokyo, I had an hour to get out of home and I’ve now been away for 10 weeks already so I’m missing home a lot.”
Katja Dedekind won her second medal in Tokyo when she took bronze in the women’s 400m freestyle for visually impaired competitors.
The 20-year-old, nicknamed Kitty Kat, also won a bronze in Rio and another one in Tokyo on Friday but was unaware she had finished third and swam a personal best time until she interviewed after the race.
“To end up with that result is incredible,” she said.
“It’s just an amazing thing that no-one can take away from you.
“To overcome so much in your life and go out there and do sport to the best of your ability … just look at me now, I’ve got three bronze medals.
“When I was a little girl, I wouldn’t do anything, I was too scared and now I’m on the podium. It’s crazy.”
AUSSIE TARGETS REVENGE 100m SHOCK
Australia’s boom sprinter Isis Holt has won a silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics after being stunned by her Chinese nemesis – who hasn’t posted an official time this year but still managed to demolish the world record.
Holt – who won four world titles in her teens but is still chasing first Paralympic gold medal – produced the run of her life when she flew down the Olympic Stadium track in a sizzling 13.13 seconds, eclipsing her own world record,
But she and everyone else was left shaking their heads that it still wasn’t enough to win the gold because China’s Xia Zhou went even faster, stopping the clock at an almost unbelievable 13.00.
“I am really pleased with my record. I didn’t expect to set a world record, and it is very good to have this kind of performance,” Zhou said.
“Of course, I am very surprised. I never thought I could run this fast.“
Zhou wasn’t the only one surprised.
Powerfully built, with legs like tree trunks, she is no stranger to Paralympic sprinting, having beat Holt to win the 100m and 200m gold medals at Rio in 2016.
But the Australian turned the tables on her in 2017 and Zhou has hardly been seen since, skipping the 2019 world championships then not registering a single time this year.
It’s not uncommon for critics to speculate about sudden improvements by Chinese competitors but Holt said had no concerns even though she admitted she hardly knows a thing about her greatest rival.
“We‘re in call rooms together every four years, and that’s about the extent of it,” Holt said.
“At the end of the day, regardless of what anybody wants to chat about, it‘s the best athlete on the day and it’s whoever is quicker.
“I have a lot of respect for an athlete that is that strong and that fast. It gives me a good challenge.”
Holt has already won four world titles, in 100m and 200m in the T35 class, which includes athletes with cerebral palsy as well as a Commonwealth Games title from the Gold Coast in 2018.
She admitted she was shocked by how fast Zhou ran but hopes to get one over her in Sunday’s 200m, the Australian’s preferred event.
“It’s definitely surprising but that’s sport,” Holt said.
“We come out here to run fast and execute a good race and that‘s what I did. The colour of the medal doesn’t really mean anything when you do it for the right reasons so for me it was important to get that race plan right and that’s what I did.
“The 200m is my favourite event. I just feel like I‘m so much stronger than I was a few years ago and I genuinely love testing that strength so I’m just super excited to get out there and run it.”
STEELERS RIDE LUCK INTO SEMI-FINALS
The Steelers are through to the semi-finals of the wheelchair rugby tournament at the Tokyo Paralympics after scraping through by the skin of their teeth.
If the two-time defending champions go on and make it three golds in a row they can thank their lucky stars after advancing to the knockout stage despite winning just one of their three pool matches.
After losing to Denmark then beating France, Australia were guaranteed of their place in the semis before their last pool match against Japan, which they lost on a countback 57-53, going through on a countback, by a single try.
“It’s lucky that we got through,” said Shae Graham, the first female to be picked for the Steelers.
“Now we’ve got to go home and bounce back and recover.”
The Australian captain Ryley Batt, who scored 30 of the Steelers’ 53 tries, admitted his team had taken things a bit easier after being assured of their spot in the semi-finals but said that was no excuse.
“We just weren’t hungry enough,” he said.
“They came out a lot more fierce than we did. We weren’t our usual self. We’ve been a bit up and down this tournament but after the loss to Denmark, we came out and played really well against France.
“We won the one that mattered against France but it would have been nice to beat Japan.
“We should have beat them but we just weren’t as hungry as we needed to be, maybe because we were already assured a semi final berth … that’s, probably the wrong mentality but it is what it is.”
The Steelers will play the United States in the semis.
Originally published as Paralympic Games Tokyo: Aussie swimmer, Tiffany Thomas Kane, wins bronze