Four days without a win – and then gold twice in 77 minutes
The top ten in the medal table is the goal – but the first days at the Paralympics in Tokyo led to 40th place without a win. Then triathlete Martin Schulz won the first gold medal. The second followed less than an hour and a half later.
MWith his arm raised, Martin Schulz ran through the target tape, then dropped to the floor, completely exhausted. After 58 exhausting minutes in the muggy morning heat, the triathlete had banned the German gold curse at the Tokyo Paralympics. “Yesterday evening in the room my trainer and I realized that we were lucky enough to be the first,” said the man from Leipzig. “That was what pushed me again on the last kilometer.”
It wasn’t just a gold medal for yourself, it was a gold medal for the team. For four days and 156 competitions, the German Disabled Sports Association (DBS) did not win at the games in Japan.
When Schulz took to the track on Sunday morning, Germany was 40th in the medal table. The top 10 are the goal. “It was clear to me that it could be a really cool number,” said Schulz, who repeated his Paralympic victory in Rio 2016 after a strong mileage. “I hope that this gives the team a boost and that we can still work our way up in the medals table.”
77 minutes after Schulz’s victory, table tennis player Valentin Baus won the second gold medal for Germany. The 25-year-old defeated the Chinese Ningning Cao in a high-class match with 3-2 sets on Sunday and won gold for the first time after silver in Rio 2016. Baus turned a 1: 2 deficit and won rounds four and five.
DBS President Friedhelm Julius Beucher was already relieved after Schulz’s triumph. “Our first gold rocket has finally ignited,” said the 75-year-old. “There is already a burden. Martin is a great winner. “
And above all, an absolutely professional athlete. The 31-year-old, who was born without a left forearm, had trained in a heated tent in the run-up to the games to simulate the climatic conditions in Tokyo. He also worked on his swimming performance in the flow channel. Work that paid off in full on Sunday morning.
Schulz won in 58:10 minutes with a 45-second advantage over the long-leading Briton George Peasgood. After swimming 750 meters in the bay of Odaiba Marine Park, Schulz emerged second out of the water early in the morning, local time, exactly one minute behind Peasgood. After cycling five of 20 kilometers, he had reduced the gap to 34 seconds. Halfway through the five-kilometer run, it was only five seconds behind, then Schulz passed.