Aussie Gliders lose again at Paralympics

Australia's largest travelling Paralympic team have headed to Tokyo and are hoping to create just as many golden moments as their Olympics counterparts just two weeks ago.

Follow along for LIVE updates at the Paralympics:


Aussie Steelers beat France in thriller

The Australian wheelchair rugby team have kept their dreams of a Paralympics three-peat alive after pulling off a series of clutch plays in the dying minutes of a thrilling 50-48 win over France.

The Steelers' hopes of making the semi-finals were hanging by a thread after suffering a shock 54-53 loss to newcomers Denmark on Wednesday.

It meant a loss to France would have ended Australia's hopes of winning a third straight Paralympic gold medal.

The Steelers also were without key player Michael Ozanne, who missed Thursday's game because of illness.

With scores locked at 41-41 midway through the final quarter, Thursday's match was delicately poised.

But Australia were able to score three straight tries courtesy of two huge defensive plays.

Star Australian Ryley Batt managed to bump his opponent back over the halfway line to cause a turnover.

Then a short time later, Andrew Harrison pulled off a huge moment of his own when he unleashed a big hit that resulted in his opponent fumbling the ball out of bounds.

The clutch plays allowed Australia to build a match-winning three-try lead, with the Steelers holding their nerve at the death.

The match also saw Shae Graham become the first woman to represent the Steelers at a Paralympics.

Graham pulled off a couple of key defensive plays, scored a try, and provided an assist in a bright three-minute cameo during the second term.

Batt finished with 25 tries and a crucial steal in a best-on-court display, while Andrew Edmondson chipped in with nine tries.

Jonathan Hivernat starred for France with 29 tries.

The Steelers face unbeaten Japan in their final group game on Friday.

Even if they secure a win, their hopes of reaching the semi-finals could come down to points for and against.

Only the top two teams from each group progress to the semi-finals.

Japan have two wins to their name, while Australia and Denmark have one each.

France, who take on Denmark on Friday, are yet to post a win.

Ozanne missed the France clash because of a urinary tract infection - a reasonably common problem for someone with higher-level spinal cord injuries.

Australian team management stressed that he has tested negative for COVID-19.

Ozanne will be monitored ahead of a call on his availability for the Japan game.


Hicks takes cycling silver after star's DQ

Australian track cyclist Darren Hicks has won a Paralympic silver medal after fastest qualifier Ewoud Vromont was disqualified.

Hicks was no match for Alexandre Leaute, who broke the world record in their C3 3000m individual pursuit gold medal ride-off.

Leaute clocked three minutes 31.478 seconds, more than three seconds quicker than the Australian's 3:35.064.

While Leaute went faster than his qualifying time, Hicks could not back-up from his 3:33.589 earlier on Wednesday in his Paralympics debut.

Hicks was resigned to riding for bronze after initially qualifying third-fastest, telling the Seven Network he made a "miscalculation" in his ride.

Vromont had qualified fastest and broken his own world record after his heat had to be re-started, clocking 3:30.290 and Leaute was next on 3:31.817.

But UCI officials disqualified the Belgian under article 1.3.008 of the world governing body's rules, relating to Vromont's position on the bike.

"I feel so much for Ewoud - he rode an incredible ride, he deserved to be in that gold medal ride-off," Hicks said.

"I guess rules are rules. I will take the gift, that's for sure.

"(My time) 3:35 is not quite what I wanted, but it's also not too bad - (I'm) stoked, bloody stocked."

Hicks said he was satisfied to ride for bronze and once word came through about the disqualification, they had to wait for any protest before confirmation he was in the gold medal ride-off instead.

"It's crazy, but that's sport," Hicks said.

Vromont, like Hicks, is an amputee and their bikes are modified so there is a cradle.

The Belgian apparently did not ride with his pelvis over the saddle and did not maintain contact with the saddle during his ride.

Australian David Nicholas easily beat Spain's Eduardo Santas Asensio for bronze in the men's C3 3000m individual pursuit.

Nicholas, a two-time Paralympic cycling gold medallist, rode 3:25.877 and beat the Spaniard by nearly two seconds.


Aussie Rollers thump Iran at Paralympics

The Australian men's wheelchair basketball team have made a hot start to their Paralympic campaign, but the women's team face a fight to reach the quarter-finals after suffering back-to-back losses.

The Australian Rollers opened their campaign with a dominant 81-39 win over Iran on Thursday.

Brett Stibners top-scored for Australia with 21 points and seven rebounds, while Bill Latham (15 points), Tristan Knowles (12), and Shaun Norris (11) also hit double figures.

Mohammadhassan Sayari (22 points) was the only real scoring threat for Iran.

The win was a big confidence booster to the Rollers as they attempt to win their third Paralympic gold medal, following on from successes in 1996 and 2008.

The Australian women's team suffered a 77-58 loss to Germany earlier in the day, which followed on from their 26-point loss to Japan on Thursday.

The Gliders trailed Germany 41-13 with four minutes remaining in the second quarter before finally finding their groove.

Australia hit back hard to close the margin to 13 points at the final change, but Germany settled in the last quarter to secure the win.

It leaves the Gliders with a 0-2 record in Group A.

They will need to win at least one of their remaining two matches - against Great Britain on Saturday night and Canada on Sunday - to have any chance of reaching the last eight.

Eight of the 10 teams across Group A and B qualify for the quarter-finals.

Amber Merritt did her best to lift Australia with 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, while Georgia Munro-Cook chipped in with 14 points.

But German star Mareike Miller stole the show with a 30-point haul and she received handy support from Katharina Lang (14 points).

The Gliders won medals at the 2000 (silver), 2004 (silver), 2008 (bronze) and 2012 (silver) Paralympics, but failed to qualify for Rio in 2016.


Aussie Gliders lose again at Paralympics

The Australian women's wheelchair basketball team face a fight to reach the Paralympic Games quarter-finals after suffering a 77-58 loss to Germany on Thursday.

A day after losing their opening clash to Japan by 26 points, the Australian Gliders found themselves trailing Germany 41-13 with four minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Australia hit back hard from that horror start to close the margin to 13 points at the final change, but Germany settled in the last quarter to secure the win.

It leaves the Gliders with a 0-2 record in Group A and with just two games remaining.

They will need to win at least one of those remaining matches - against Great Britain on Saturday night and Canada on Sunday - to have any chance of reaching the last eight.

Eight of the 10 teams across Group A and B qualify for the quarter-finals.

Amber Merritt did her best to lift Australia with 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, while Georgia Munro-Cook chipped in with 14 points.

But German star Mareike Miller stole the show with a 30-point haul and she received handy support from Katharina Lang (14 points).

The Gliders won medals at the 2000 (silver), 2004 (silver), 2008 (bronze) and 2012 (silver) Paralympics, but failed to qualify for Rio in 2016.


Ma Lin gets revenge at Tokyo Paralympics

Australian table tennis star Ma Lin has finally broken his duck against world No.6 Mohamed Kalem with a straight sets win at the Paralympics in Tokyo.

Lin, the world No.3 who lost his right arm as a child in a bear attack, had never been able to produce a win over Italian star Kalem.

When the two met in the quarter-finals of the Rio Paralympics in 2016, Lin went down in five sets, with the result costing him the chance to defend his gold medal.

But he got a slice of revenge on Thursday when he posted a 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 victory in his second pool game.

The result gave Lin two wins from two appearances in Tokyo.

And given that the match against Kalem was going to be Lin's toughest of the pool stage, the pressure has now eased slightly on him.

"I feel really good, I played really well today because I had a good preparation thanks to our team who had the match analysis for me," Lin said.

"Everything feels perfect, I am in good form and in a good mood."