Above: Liam Malone claims his third medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Photo by Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images.
Liam Malone won his second gold medal and third overall at the Rio 2016 Paralympics this morning.
Running in the final of the Men's T43/44 400m, Malone went out hard in the early stages of the race but was caught by 200m silver medallist Hunter Woodhall close to the half way point.
The American held a one metre lead into the home straight but Malone ran down Woodhall and saw off a determined challenge from fast finishing German David Behre to claim gold in 46.20. Behre finished second in 46.23 while Woodhall came in third in 46.70.
The first six athletes all ran personal best times and Malone took a staggering 2.08 seconds off his previous best set at the Porritt Classic meet in February.
Malone’s time also set a new T43 400m Paralympic record, erasing the previous record of Oscar Pistorius set at the London 2012 Paralympics. Malone has now beaten all three if the South African’s T43 (double amputee) Paralympic records for 100m, 200m and 400m.
The gold is the former Nelson runner’s third medal at the Games, following his gold for T43/44 200m three days earlier and a surprise silver in the 100m on day 2.
Malone has grabbed the attention of the world’s media for his outstanding performances and his refreshing approach to the Paralympics.
In the evening session, Anna Grimaldi crossed the line in third place in her T47 200m heat, seeming to qualify for the final but was disqualified for a lane infringement.
On the first day of the Games Grimaldi provided New Zealand with the first athletics gold medal of the Games in the T47 Long Jump.
The Kiwi Para-Athletics team currently has seven medals – three gold for Malone (2) and Anna Grimaldi, two silver for Holly Robinson and Malone and two bronze for Rory McSweeney and Jessica Hamill.
The only Kiwi still in action in the athletics is William Stedman who competes in the T36 400m final tomorrow and the T36 800m final the following day.