Marathons Close out Rio 2016

The final day of competition at the Paralympic Games in Rio saw few events with several of those being the traditional final day event of the Marathon. There were dramatic finishes, fast times, and a medal to the hosts to really get things finished well.

Marcel Hug won the men’s T53/54 after a strong sprint finish against Australian Kurt Fearnley, with the two easily setting the pace from the opening gun. The two fought against each other all the way but Hug proved stronger, finishing quicker in a time of 1:26:16, with Fearnley just one second back.

Hug’s win confirmed him as the strongest marathon racer of 2016 having won three of the most prestigious races of the year. Hug won in London and Boston heading in to the Paralympics which he has added to his collection, finally winning his first marathon Paralympic gold.

The women’s T53/54 was a strong race, with a lead group of eight pushing the pace for much of the race. In the closing mile the leaders picked up the pace with China’s Lihong Zou and American Tatyana McFadden breaking clear.

The two matched each other perfectly with neither athlete able to get clear, and they crossed the line in exactly the same time. It was a new Paralympic record of 1:38:44 but Zou had managed to just do enough to get her front wheel in front and won in a photo finish.

El Amin Chentouf won his Paralympic Marathon debut in the men’s T12 as he pulled away in the final lap of the course. Spain’s Gustavo Nieves lead for most of the race but he got caught and pulled up in the final lap, allowing the field past him.

China’s Chaoyan Li easily won the men’s T46 taking the lead well before the half marathon mark. That allowed him to cruise, following on from his victory in the London marathon earlier this year to win by over three minutes.

There was more domination in the women’s T12 with Spaniard Elena Congost taking the race from the starter’s gun. She cruised to the victory, more than five minutes ahead of the rest of the field to claim the gold easily, the final athletics gold of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

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