The Tokyo Paralympics have officially come to a close with Australia finishing with a total of 80 medals: 21 gold, 29 silver and 30 bronze.
Amanda Reid, Ruby Storm and Samantha Schmidt were the three Indigenous Paralympians to compete this year, with Reid breaking her own world record and taking home gold for the women’s C1-3 500m time trial.
Storm took out bronze in the women’s 100m butterfly S14 while debutant Schmidt placed sixth in the women’s discus F38.
Proud Wakawaka and Gubbi Gubbi woman Samantha Schmidt has placed sixth upon her Paralympic debut, throwing 30.26m in the Discus F38. The effort is enormous for Sam, who has never before represented her country in athletics 🖤💛❤️#ThisIsAthletics #ReadySetTokyo pic.twitter.com/HVBuZcl3be
— Athletics Australia (@AthsAust) September 4, 2021
Nineteen-year-old’s Schmidt’s mother Gemina Moore said her daughter did amazing despite the rainy conditions.
“We are so proud and excited; we spoke with her … after she competed and she’s really happy, and she just loved the whole experience,” she said.
“It’s definitely a dream come true, and I think after this she will come back more determined.”
“It’s really a life changing experience.”
With Olympians and Paralympians still either in quarantine, in Tokyo or back home, they were able to tune into a live stream of the Sydney Opera House paying homage to the champions.
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) September 5, 2021
All 665 of Australia’s Paralympians and Olympians had their faces and names projected onto the Opera House sails for 30 seconds each in a moment they’re unlikely to forget.
— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) September 6, 2021
There has also been further developments in the Paralympics pay debacle, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announcing that Australian Paralympic medal winners will receive the same financial reward as Olympians.
Mr Morrison said in Parliament that the Federal Government would provide the additional support to Paralympics Australia ensuring medallists at the Paralympics would get “equivalent payments to our Olympics medallists”.
“Australia’s para-athletes have represented our nation with great distinction and pride in Tokyo, delivering performances that have buoyed millions during what is a difficult time for the nation,” he said.
For now, the Paralympic flame has been put out and the flag has been handed to Paris until the next Games in 2024.
By Teisha Cloos