Tokyo Paralympics: Tully Kearney and Reece Dunn win silvers on day one
|Venue: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 24 August-5 September Time in Tokyo: BST +8|
|Coverage: Follow on Radio 5 Live and on the BBC Sport website|
Britain’s Tully Kearney and Reece Dunn both won silvers on day one of action in the pool at the Tokyo Paralympics.
World champion Kearney led for much of her S5 200m freestyle final but was overtaken late on by defending champion Zhang Li of China.
Fellow debutant Dunn was beaten by Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira by 0.36 seconds in the S14 100m butterfly.
There was also a bronze for Scottish teenager Toni Shaw in the S9 400m freestyle.
Kearney, 24, who missed the Rio Games through injury, was born with cerebral palsy but was diagnosed with the neurological condition dystonia as a teenager which has further hampered her mobility.
She qualified fastest for the final and started strongly but as she faded in the last 10m, Zhang stormed through, with Britain’s Suzanna Hext finishing fourth.
“I’m a bit speechless at the moment,” said Kearney. “There was a question mark over whether I’d even get to the Paralympics so the fact I’ve got a medal is crazy.
“I think after Rio I thought the Paralympics wouldn’t be possible, that I wouldn’t be able to swim.
“It’s all down to the amazing support staff and medical team that I’ve just swam. Because of all that this is a massive deal for me.
“I’ve not had much training – I was nervous about whether my fitness would hold out. To get that time and get a medal, I have to be so pleased.”
Dunn, who was diagnosed with autism as a teenager, made his international Para-swimming debut in 2019, winning the world title in a world record.
The 25-year-old then set a Paralympic record in the heats, but Bandeira was quicker off the blocks in the final and Dunn, who turned in third, was unable to get past his rival.
“I knew it would be a tough race but I’m a bit disappointed in my finish,” the Plymouth swimmer told Channel 4.
Shaw, 18, finished behind Australia’s Lakeisha Patterson and Hungary’s Zsofia Konkoly, who fought out a thrilling finish.
“I’m super happy. I was hoping for a personal best and that’s what I did so I’m really happy,” she said.