Clifford claims 5000m Para silver, more medals in the pool

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:


Steelers fall to USA in semi-final

Australia will not defend their Paralympic wheelchair rugby gold medal after suffering a 49-42 loss to the United States in their semi-final.

Saturday night's contest was a rematch of the 2016 gold medal showdown, where the Steelers prevailed, but on this occasion the US snatched an early lead and never really looked back, sealing a gold medal clash with Great Britain.

It means Australia will face Japan - who lost 55-49 to Great Britain in the other semi - having lost three of four matches in Tokyo, in the bronze medal match.

Australia had won gold at the past two Paralympics and it is the first time since 2004 the Steelers have failed to make the final.

"We've had an up-and-down tournament - we've had some good bits, we've had some bad bits - unfortunately more bad parts out of this tournament," captain Ryley Batt told the Seven Network.

"That's just what's gonna happen with not playing as a team for two years. With our tight restrictions in Australia, team sports have been hit the hardest.

"But we're not going to take that away from America, we know they're a tough team.

"I know we're better than that, we should have had a closer game - but credit to them, it's going to be a cracker of a gold medal game tomorrow and we'll be fighting as hard as we can for that bronze medal against Japan."

Batt emphasised a need to clean up turnovers after the Steelers had 10 to the US' three.

Australia will also need to deliver a better showing than their most recent clash with Japan to seal bronze, after being beaten 57-53 on Friday.

"We want to come home with some hardware and we know we're better than we were against Japan yesterday," Batt said.

On Saturday night, the Steelers had no answers for tournament top-scorer Charles Aoki, who scored 27 tries, while Australian skipper Batt was next-best with 25, despite sitting out the final quarter.

Australia were made to rue their turnovers, giving up the ball 10 times to the US' three across the match.

The USA grabbed a slender 13-11 quarter-time lead and they nudged it out to 28-23 at the main break - despite Batt racking up 18 tries in the first half alone.

Needing a response after halftime, the Steelers were unable to work their way back into the contest and the US pushed their lead out to a-near unassailable seven tries at three-quarter time.

From there, Australia were unable to mount an unlikely comeback.


Australia land five more medals in the pool

Australia's swim team continue to make their mark on the Paralympics, adding three silver and a pair of bronze medals to their impressive tally.

Rowan Crothers and Ahmed Kelly finished second in their respective races while Grant Patterson and Matt Levy claimed bronze medals on a busy Saturday night in the pool.

Then, Australia's mixed 4x100m freestyle relay S14 team of Ricky Betar, Benjamin Hance, Ruby Storm and Madeleine McTernan rounded out the night by claiming silver behind Great Britain.

Best mates Kelly and Patterson both won their first Paralympic medals in the 150m individual medley SM3 final, finishing second and third behind Mexico's Jesus Hernandez Hernandez.

Iraq-born Kelly, 29, was at his third Games after competing but not medalling in 2012 and 2016 - and said he would have considered quitting just months earlier if not for coach Yuriy Vdovychenko.

"It took me three goes to get on that dais, we're finally on it," Kelly told the Seven Network.

Patterson, who competed at London but missed the team for Rio, earned a special redemption story in his return Paralympics.

"I went to London, made a final, missed out on Rio, and people were saying 'give it up, you're banging your head up against a brick wall' and I just hung in there," Patterson told the Seven Network.

"That proves no matter how hard it is or what the challenge is you have to overcome, if you stick to it, and be persistent and consistent in your process and training and so on - anything can happen."

Meanwhile, Crothers, 23, finished second behind Ukrainian Maksym Krypak - who swam a world record time - in the men's S10 100m freestyle on Saturday evening.

It was Crothers' second medal, after he bested Krypak to win gold in the S10 50m freestyle on Wednesday night.

"It's bittersweet and a bit funny as well that pretty much every swim meet that I go to when I race the 50 and 100m freestyle, one race is perfect and great and the other one's a bit off the mark," Crothers said.

Fellow Australian Thomas Gallagher finished fifth.

Earlier, Levy claimed his eighth career medal at his fifth Paralympics when he finished third behind Ukrainian Yevhenii Bohodaiko and Colombia's Nelson Crispin Cordo in the men's SB6 100m breaststroke.

"This (medal's) pretty special. The lead-up has been rough for everyone ... five-year build-up, COVID, pandemic and all that stuff," Levy said.

Jasmine Greenwood, 16, came fifth in the women's 100m freestyle S10 final while Jesse Aungles finished seventh in the men's 200m individual medley SM8.


Horrie leads Aust rowers into Para finals

Australia's Erik Horrie is eyeing a third Paralympic medal after convincingly moving through to the final of the PR1 men's singles sculls.

The 41-year-old, who has won silver at the past two Games, needed to finish top two in the five-person repechage on Saturday to progress.

Horrie smashed his personal best with a time of 9 minutes 20.61 seconds over 2000 metres - eight seconds ahead of second place to book a spot in Sunday's final at Tokyo's Sea Forest Waterway.

There he will face the formidable Roman Polianskyi of the Ukraine, who has won the past two Paralympic titles and was the fastest qualifier in the heats.

Australia's PR3 mixed coxed four also charged through to the final, winning the repechage in a new Paralympic best time.

The crew of Alex Viney, Nikki Ayers, Thomas Birthwhistle, James Talbot and cox Renae Domaschenz came second in the heat which forced them into the repechage race but they showed they will be a force in Sunday's final.

Australian duo Simon Albury and Kathryn Ross missed a spot in the PR2 mixed double scull final by less than a second, finishing behind crews from Poland and the Netherlands.


Rollers cruise past Germany in basketball

The Rollers have continued their unbeaten start in Paralympic men's wheelchair basketball, holding off Germany 64-53 in Saturday's pool round.

The Australians have now won their opening three Group B games - also beating Algeria and Iran - and take on reigning Paralympic champions USA on Sunday.

They also still have a match against world champions Great Britain on Monday at Ariake Stadium.

The Rollers got off to a flying start against Germany and were up 21-11 at the end of the first quarter.

The Germans found their rhythm but with Bill Latham and Shaun Norris leading the scoring, Australia maintained a 28-22 lead at half-time.

That stretched back out to an 11-point lead heading into the final 10-minute stanza and while Germany put some pressure to come within six, the Rollers were able to kick away for a comfortable win.


Australia in hunt for three table tennis gold

Australia has the chance to collect three table tennis Paralympic gold medals, while Ma Lin claimed a silver medal on a super Saturday in Tokyo.

Sam von Eimem can best his Rio silver medal after clawing his way to an epic 3-2 win over defending Paralympic champion Florian van Acker.

The Belgian won the first two sets before Queenslander von Eimem dug deep to win the next three to secure a place in Sunday's C11 gold medal match against Peter Palos of Hungary.

"I'm over the moon. To get over van Acker was something that I had been trying to do for so long and now that I've done it, it's unbelievable," von Eimem said.

"After those two first games I just thought that I had to reset and take one point at the time. I think I did it really well, the match finally started to come my way and I got away with the win."

Von Eimem joined Ma, Lina Lei and Qian Yang in the gold medal round after the Chinese-born athletes also enjoyed semi-final success.

Ma, who lost his arm in a bear attack at a Chinese zoo as a child, lost his C9 gold medal match to Belgian Laurens Devos 3-1 on Saturday night.

Four-time Paralympic champion Ma, who switched allegiance to Australia in 2017, claimed the first set before Rio gold medallist Devos reeled off the next three sets.

Lei also competed at four Paralympics for China between 2004 and 2016, winning five gold medals and three silver in singles and team classes before donning the green and gold.

Lei edged Hungary's Alexa Szvitacs 3-2 in the women's C9 semi-final on Saturday and will now battle China's Guiyan Xiong for gold on Monday.

Yang snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the women's C10 semi-final, prevailing in a five-set epic against Polish star Natalia Partyka.

Partyka had won gold in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympics and led the semi-final 2-1, and 9-4 in the final set.

But Yang reeled off the final seven points of the match to win 3-2 and tee up a gold medal match against Brazil's Bruna Costa Alexandre on Monday.

Yang previously won singles silver when competing for China in 2012 and 2016, and claimed team gold in London and team silver in Rio.

Yang had advanced to the final four by overcoming Australian teammate Melissa Tapper in their quarter-final earlier in the day.

Tapper will return next week with Yang and Lei for the teams event.


Clifford claims 5000m Para silver medal

An emotional Jaryd Clifford has dedicated his Paralympic silver medal to his late grandfather, who had bought a ticket to watch him run in Tokyo.

The 22-year-old broke down in tears after being treated trackside following his gallant efforts in the men's 5000m T13 race.

He knocked into other athletes after crossing the line before vomiting, with Australian medical staff checking on his welfare.

Clifford, who has a visual impairment, said his grandfather had hoped to watch him race in Tokyo.

"To my Pa, he had tickets to the race today but he didn't make it, he passed away a few months ago," Clifford told Channel Seven.

"Today and the next few days I'm running for him, I know he'd be proud of me, whatever the result."

Clifford, the reigning world champion, made a move early in the final 400 metres but then couldn't keep pace with Spaniard Yassine Ouhdadi El Ataby, who clocked 14 minutes 34.13 seconds in a personal best time.

Clifford was 1.39 seconds behind to claim his first Paralympics medal after also competing in Rio with a guide runner.

"It wasn't good enough (or) what I wanted today but I gave it everything and I'm pretty cooked and pretty emotional," he said.

"That's a testament to where Para sport is, no medal is a guarantee ever and I knew that.

"This medal means the world to me still."

The Victorian is also competing in the 1500 metres, in which he holds the world record, and the marathon.

"We'll reset and be good to go in 1500," he said.

"It will be a tough field and a tough race but I'll be ready to go."

On Saturday night, decorated Paralympian Evan O'Hanlon claimed bronze in the men's T38 100m final.

O'Hanlon finished third just behind and Great Britain's Thomas Young and China's Zhu Dening.

The 33-year-old already had five gold medals (three in Beijing, two in London) and one silver (Rio) to his name, while he is aiming to qualify Australia for bobsleigh at the next Winter Olympics.

Rhiannon Clarke and Ella Pardy both qualified for the women's 100m T38 final, with Clarke finishing fifth and Pardy coming seventh.

Earlier on Saturday, Madison de Rozario finished fifth in the women's T53/54 5000m, won by American Susannah Scaroni.

Meanwhile Sarah Walsh finished seventh in the women's T64 long jump final, leaping 5.11m.

Alissa Jordaan was due to round out Saturday night's action in the 400m T47 final.