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The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games have ended with a moving ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.

The theme of the Closing Ceremony was “Harmonious Cacophony”, showing a variety of artists coming together in a chaotic nature to demonstrate their unique styles and rhythm.

During the ceremony International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons and Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto gave speeches before the official closing of the Games.

A key part of the ceremony was the handing over of the games to Paris. During the handover part of the ceremony Paris 2024 held an artistic segment which included a dance put together by Sadeck Waff, featuring a team of 128 performers – of which 15 per cent were disabled.

Hip-hop artist Pone mixed and composed a musical performance with just his eyes, showing the capabilities of disabled people.

During his performance, Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet and French Paralympic medallists celebrated at the “Lives des Jeux” site Trocadéro Gardens. 

The Paralympics are an incredible show of perseverance and inspiration. Paralympians are all so talented, and they show that nothing can stop you if you try hard enough.

One such Para Athlete is Anastasia Pagonis. Anastasia is a blind 17-year old from America. She lost her sight when she was 14, as a result of an autoimmune disease, but that hasn’t stopped her. This year she qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in Japan.

Anastasia is a swimmer, a good one too. Just the other day, on the 29 August, she won Gold in the S11 400-meter freestyle. She smashed the competition with a time of 4 minutes and 54.49 seconds – a full 10 seconds ahead of the second-fastest swimmer. That’s a new world record! She also achieved bronze in the 200 meter medley, and 4th in the 100m freestyle.

The whole way, Anastasia’s 2 million Tik Tok followers have been cheering her on. That’s right, on the social media platform Tik Tok, Anastasia—@anastasia_k_p on the app—has over 2 million followers! ( Me included! ) She posts frequently about her blindness and any questions her fans might have, as well as her Paralympic Journey. “I just want to teach people that this is blind, not just what you think is blind where you have to wear sunglasses and you can’t do anything,” she told Team USA. “This is blind.”

A couple of things I have learnt from Anastasia are, that you should always believe in yourself, and keep on trying even when the going gets tough. When Anastasia first lost her vision, she was extremely afraid of the water, and couldn’t even swim to the other side of the pool without crashing into a lane rope, or ending up in tears. But she persevered and look at her now! She is such a sweet, and inspiring person, and she hasn’t let her disability stop her from doing what she loves: making content.

Together with her guide dog Radar, she is entertaining millions and breaking world records! She is an inspiration to us all, and the only thing any para-athletes who need some encouragement need to do is scroll through her account.

Article Written by Isla Martin – Year 8 Aquinas College

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 30: Anastasia Pagonis of Team United States competes in Women’s 200m Individual Medley – SM11 on day 6 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

New Zealand Paralympian Anna Grimaldi has jumped to the gold medal in the T47 long jump at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Grimaldi was on form from the start. She set a new Paralympic Record with her first jump of 5.74 metres in the wet conditions.

She the extended her lead with a jump of 5.76m in her fourth jump and couldn’t better it on her fifth and sixth leaps.

The Russian Paralympic Committee’s Aleksandra Moguchaia took the silver medal with Equador’s Kiara Rodriguez recorded a South American record leap of 5.63m for the bronze medal.

Grimaldi, 24, from Dunedin was the defending champion in this event after winning gold at the last Paralympics in Rio five years ago.

New Zealand swimmer Sophie Pascoe has claimed her 10th Paralympic gold medal with victory in the women’s S9 100 metres freestyle final in Tokyo.

The Kiwi swimming sensation looked strong from the start of the race. She led by a second at the halfway point and then held off a late charge from Spain’s Sarai Gascon to win by 0.4 of a second.

Mariana Ribeiro of Brazil took bronze.

It was Pascoe’s third Paralympic medal in the 100m freestyle. She won gold at the 2012 London Games and silver five years ago in Rio.

Pascoe is New Zealand’s most successful Paralympian. Her latest medal is her 18th Paralympic medal in total – and third of these Games.

But it is not over for Pascoe and she sti;; has more opportunity to add to her tally. She is contesting the SM9 200m individual medley on Wednesday, before completing her fourth Paralympics with the 100m butterfly on Thursday.

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 31: Sophie Pascoe of Team New Zealand celebrates after winning gold in the Women’s 100m Freestyle – S9 Final on day 7 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 31: Sophie Pascoe of Team New Zealand celebrates with the gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Women’s 100m Freestyle – S9 Final on day 7 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian, Sophie Pascoe, has won a bronze medal in the women’s S9 100 metres backstroke.

Pascoe, the world record holder in the event, was leading at the 50m turn and looked like claiming her 10th gold medal.

However, the Kiwi was unable to maintain that pace. In the end she finished third behind American Hannah Aspden and Nuria Marques Soto of Spain.

It was Pascoe’s 17th Paralympic medal overall, and second medal of these Games after she earlier picked up silver in the 100 metres breastroke.

She now has nine gold, seven silver and one bronze medal.

When asked about adding a bronze medal Pascoe had this to say; “First ever bronze medal from a Paralympic Games, so a new colour to add to the collection! We’re calling this one Rosé!”

Pascoe will be back on Tuesday in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 and again on Day 8 (Wednesday) in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM9 and again, Day 9 (Thursday) in the Women’s 100m Butterfly.

Kiwi long jumper William Stedman has won silver at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Stedman looked like missing out of a medal when he was in fifth place with only one jump remaining.

However, Stedman saved his best jump for last as he then made a leap of 5.64m to secure his medal in the T36 long jump. This final jump was a personal best and an Oceania record. 

Stedman, now has three Paralympic medals after claiming the 400 and 800 metres at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Russian Paralympic Committee’s Evgenii Torsunov won gold with 5.76m, while Ukranian bronze medallist Roman Pavlyk was just one centimetre shy of Stedman’s mark.

After the event Stedman revealed he had to overcome huge adversity to stand on the podium in Tokyo.

“I’ve had a stress fracture for the last few months and we have had to modify training a little bit so I’m stoked to come out and get this.”

Danielle Aitchison has won New Zealand’s forth medal of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Aitchison finished second in the women’s 200m T36 at the Olympic stadium in Tokyo. Danielle was 1.67 seconds behind the world record holder, Shi Yiting from China.

Aitchison finished easily more than a second clear of the bronze medal winner, Yanina Andrea Martinez from Argentina.

Danielle Aitchison was overcome with joy after the race and said that she was very happy with how she ran and to get a silver medal is just like the icing on the cake.

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 29: Silver medalist Danielle Aitchison of Team New Zealand poses in the podium after the Women’s 200m – T36 Final on day 5 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images for New Zealand Paralympic Committee)

New Zealand Shot putter Lisa Adams has won New Zealand’s second gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Adams set a new Paralympic record in the F37 shot put, beating her rival Mi Na from China with a throw of 15.12 meters.

All of Lisa Adams throws were worthy of winning the gold medal, with her shortest throw being 14.34 metre.

The 30-year-old said that winning a gold was a dream come true and said ‘Its unreal’ in her interview.

Lisa Adams is coached by her sister and two-time Olympic champion, Dame Valerie Adams who won a bronze medal at Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.