Madison de Rozario wins Paralympics marathon

Madison de Rozario
Madison de Rozario breaks the tape to claim the gold medal in the women’s T54 marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photograph: OIS/Simon Bruty/REX/Shutterstock

Madison de Rozario has become the first Australian woman to win a Paralympic marathon gold medal. She’s taking out the T54 race in a tight finish. Jaryd Clifford was physically ill near the finish as he battled it out in the T12 marathon to win silver.

It has brought the Australian team’s total to 21 gold, 29 silver and 30 bronze to finish eighth on the medal table.

De Rozario’s triumph is the 21st Australian gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics and her second after she also took out the 800m. She held off Swiss Manuela Schär to win by one second, clocking one hour 38 minutes 11 seconds. Dutch wheelchair racer Nikita den Boer was five seconds off the pace for bronze. De Rozario said,

“It’s probably the greatest thing I’ve done in my life. I didn’t think that would be the result going in.”

De Rozario made her move on a hill near the finish at the Olympic Stadium, taking the lead and then holding off the challenge of Schaer in a pulsating duel. Clifford showed great courage to hold on for second in his marathon, crossing the line in 2:26:09 to finish 4:26 behind Morocco’s El Amin Chentouf.

One of the big Australian gold medal hopes in athletics at the Tokyo Games, Clifford won two silvers and a bronze. He and Michael Roeger went into Sunday’s marathons holding the world records in their classes.

Roeger led the T46 race until just before halfway, but he faded and finished sixth in 2:34:45, nearly nine minutes adrift of Chinese winner Li Chaoyan.

Christie Dawes was eighth in de Rozario’s race and after her finish became an instant hero to all Australian parents who are home schooling during lockdown.