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Steelers reach rugby semis despite loss, Holt wins sprinting silver

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:


Para table tennis medals locked in

Australia is guaranteed three Paralympic table tennis medals after Ma Lin and Sam von Einem joined Lina Lei in the semi-finals in Tokyo while another medal is also beckoning.

Third-ranked Lin accounted for young world No.4 Lev Kats in the quarter-finals on Friday night, which was his fourth win without dropping a set.

The 31-year-old will take on another Ukrainian Ivan Mai in the semi-finals on Saturday for a place in the C9 men's singles gold medal decider.

In a change in 2017, there is no longer a bronze medal play-off in the table tennis with both losing semi-finalists awarded a medal.

Lin, who lost his arm in a bear attack at a Chinese zoo as a child, already has five Paralympic gold in his keeping while representing China.

He switched allegiance after Rio, as did Lei, who competed at four Paralympics between 2004 and 2016, winning five gold medals and three silver in singles and team classes

Lei will meet Hungary's Alexa Szvitacs in the women's C9 semi- final also on Saturday.

Rio silver medallist von Einem toppled Spaniard Eduardo Cuesta Martinez on Friday and will now take on Florian van Acker in the semi-final of the men's C11 singles.

Melissa Tapper, who also competed in the Olympics, will square off against fellow Australian Qian Tang in the women's C10 quarter finals on Saturday.

One of those athletes will advance to the semi-finals, thereby locking in a fourth medal for Australia.

Triple Paralympian Rebecca Julian was outplayed by Russian Maliak Alieva in their C6 quarter-final match 15-13 11-4 11-5.


Swimmers add two bronze to Para tally

Australia's swimmers added two bronze medals to their Paralympic tally and narrowly missed a further three in Tokyo on Friday.

Queensland's Katja Dedekind won her second bronze of the Games and Sydneysider Tiffany Thomas Kane also clinched a medal while Jesse Aungles, Liam Schluter and Braedan Jason all finished fourth.

Competing in the S8 100 metres backstroke, Aungles was shattered to again miss a medal after making the final in four events in Rio 2016 without a podium finish.

The race was won by American Robert Griswold in a world record one minute 2.55 seconds while Aungles equalled his personal best with 1:07.94.

"I'm a bit shattered - always the bridesmaid never the bride unfortunately at the Paralympics," said the 26-year-old South Australian who won silver in the event at the 2019 world championships.

Schluter finished fourth in the mens' 200m freestyle S14 with Ricky Betar seventh, before Jason placed fourth in the 400 metres freestyle S13 behind Belarusian legend Ihar Boki.

Kane lined up in the SM7 200 metres individual medley and was part of a heart-stopping surge to the line.

While American Mallory Weggemann was a clear winner, just 0.34 seconds separated the next three swimmers, while 15-year-old Australian Isabella Vincent was sixth.

Dedekind managed to hold on for bronze in the women's 400 metres freestyle (S13) after also placing third in the 100m backstroke while she also won bronze in Rio.

The visually impaired 20-year-old beat her personal best by more than two seconds.

"This morning was a nice cruisy swim but that really hurt," Dedekind said.

She thanked her coach Nathan Doyle for pushing her out of her comfort zone.

"Thank you so much for pushing me in the annoying 400 - we know it's not my favourite thing in the world but thank you for pushing me to do it because I wouldn't be here without you," she said.

Teenager Ruby Storm placed seventh in the women's 200m freestyle S14, following her bronze in the 100m butterfly earlier in the Games.


Rollers win again in wheelchair hoops

The Rollers have continued their strong start in Paralympic men's wheelchair basketball, easily beating Algeria 83-37.

Friday's big win follows the Australians' 81-39 romp against Iran, but over the next three days they will face Germany, the United States and Great Britain.

"It's another good win ... a good way to start," said Tom O'Neill-Thorne, who scored 11 points against Algeria.

"Usually we start a little slow in these tournaments and have to pick up our groove, but all 12 of us are playing really well.

"This is the best we've looked in a long time ... there are really no weak links in our team anymore."

Of their next three matches, O'Neill-Thorne said "they're going to be the real tests."

Bill Latham top-scored for Australia on Friday with 16.


Steelers reach rugby semis despite loss

The Steelers have stayed alive in wheelchair rugby despite a convincing 57-53 loss to unbeaten Japan.

Australia, who so far look a shadow of the team that won the last two Paralympic gold medals, progressed to the semi-finals with only one win from three pool games.

France beat Denmark earlier on Friday and that was enough to ensure the Steelers would progress.

But they will need a massive lift if they are to contend for the gold medal again.

Australia will face either the United States or Great Britain in Saturday's semis, ahead of the medal games on Sunday.

They started the tournament with an upset loss to Denmark and then beat France.

Japan, another gold medal favourite, led at every break and Australia rarely looked like being able to overcome the deficit.


Sprinter Holt wins Paralympic silver

Australian sprinter Isis Holt says she can't be disappointed with another Paralympic silver medal after smashing her previous best T35 100 metre time.

The 20-year-old went into the Tokyo final as the raging favourite after posting the best heat time on Friday morning, just short of her world record 13.43 seconds.

But history repeated itself with China's Rio champion Zhou Xia causing another upset after getting off to blistering start.

British sprinter Maria Lyle, who won the 2019 world title, took bronze as she also did in Rio.

Zhou crossed in a world record time of 13.00 seconds, with Holt also eclipsing her previous best to stop the clock at 13.13 seconds.

Melbourne-raised Holt said she couldn't have done any more.

"I wasn't expecting a time like that," she told Channel Seven.

"It would have been awesome to win that final but that PB for me is insane - that's a world record and I couldn't be happier."

Holt stunned Australia when she became a world record holder at 14 but decided after the 2018 Commonwealth Games to take some time away from the sport.

Holt, who has cerebral palsy, said that towards the end of year 12 in 2019 she watched back some of her races and "got the bug for it again".

Studying psychology at university, Holt transferred her studies to Queensland to train under Paul Pearce, who also coaches Riley Day, who blitzed her 200 metres personal best in Tokyo last month.

Holt will contest the 200 metres on Sunday where she will again look to topple Zhou for Paralympic gold.


Reid breaks own world record in cycling

Amanda Reid has "zig-zagged" her way to a Paralympic track cycling gold medal and a world record, putting a testing five years behind her.

The Australian went one better than her 500m time trial silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games, dominating the C1-3 event on Friday at Tokyo's Izu Velodrome.

The three-time Paralympian - she swam in London and then switched to cycling - clocked 38.487 seconds and was the only rider to go sub-39.

Reid, 25, broke the 38.918 world record for the C2 class she set last November at Brisbane's Anna Meares Velodrome.

Dutch rider Alyda Norbruis won silver with 39.002 and China's Qian Wangwei was third in 41.403.

Qian also broke the world record for the C1 class.

It is Australia's third cycling gold medal at the Tokyo Games.

Reid, who has cerebral palsy, overcame a shaky start to snare the gold medal.

"It just means everything ... I was hoping for the world record, but I was bit everywhere on the track, a bit like a zig-zag," she said.

"That's because of my cerebral palsy, so it can be very interesting when I ride."

Reid's switch from cycling to swimming hasn't all been success and speed.

Three years ago, she was accused in the media of exaggerating her symptoms.

The Australian Paralympic Committee, now Paralympics Australia, strongly backed Reid at the time, saying she has "multiple impairments".

"The last five years have been up and down, so to get gold is just amazing," she said.

"It feels so great."

Reid is also the rarest of athletes in Australian sport - an elite Indigenous cyclist.

"Being a proud Aboriginal woman from Guringai and Wemba-Wemba, I hope to inspire more indigenous kids with disabilities back in Australia to start with sports and achieve their dreams like I have," she said.


Rower Horrie into Para repechage round

Australia rower Erik Horrie will have to go the long way around to clinch a third Paralympic medal after being surprisingly relegated to the repechage round in Tokyo.

The men's single scull was expected to be a two-way tussle between Horrie, who has won silver in the event in Rio and London, and two-time Olympic champion Roman Polianskyi of the Ukraine.

While Polianskyi won his heat in the fastest time of the day to move directly into the final, Sydneysider Horrie was beaten into second place by Rene Campos Pereira.

The burly Brazilian and Horrie tussled for the lead until the 1000m before the Australian conceded, with his rival finishing more than 35 seconds clear.

The 41-year-old, a five-time world champion, will now contest the repechage on Saturday with the top two going into Sunday's final.

Campos Pereira finished sixth in Rio but looked strong to the line, with Paralympic rowers completing the full international distance of 2000m for the first time.

Para rowing switched to 2000m races from 1000m at the 2017 world championships.

In the mixed double scull Australians Kathryn Ross and Simon Albury finished third in their heat, with British Olympic champions Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley comfortable winners.

Australia came home second in the mixed coxed four behind the United States to also move into the repechage race on Saturday.