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Rio Paralymics - Good start for NZ athletes

By Moana Makapelu Lee

New Zealand athletes at this year's Rio Paralympics have gotten under way with 2 medals already in the bag, including New Zealand's first gold.

New Zealand got off to a good start at Day One with four of our Paralympians gaining entry into the finals and clocking personal best times.

An astonishing start for Ngāpuhi's Cameron Leslie in the Men's 200m Freestyle S5 heats placing third and clocking a new personal best time of 2:52.21. However it was last place for Leslie in the finals, with Brazil's nine time Paralympic medallist Daniel Dias taking out the win.

In the Women's 100m Backstroke S7, Nikita Howarth and Rebecca Dubber swam to first and second place in their heat gaining immediate entry to the finals. But it was Dubber who finished third in the finals claiming NZ's first bronze medal.

Cyclist Kate Horan held a strong lead in the first 2km of the Women's 3km Pursuit C4. But it was a two horse race for bronze in the final lap against America's Megan Fisher. Horan finishing a mere 0.356s behind Fisher to take 4th place.

Another personal best time for Liam Malone in his heat of the Men's 100m Sprint with a time of 10.90s breaking the Paralympic record to qualify second for the T44 100m final.

But it was Anna Grimaldi who stole the show in the Women's Long Jump T47, leaping her way to NZ's first gold medal.  

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