Lakeisha ‘Lucky’ Patterson’s brave strategy paid off tonight as she helped make it a golden start for Australia in the first night of finals at the Paralympic Games.
The 22-year-old from Caboolture went hard from the start and hit the front within the first 25m of the Women’s 400m Freestyle S9 final in Tokyo.
But her lead, more than two metres as times, was whittled down to just a few centimetres by Hungarian Zsofia Konkoly entering the final 20m.
However, Patterson dug deep and held on by less than one 10th of a second, clocking 4 minutes 36.68 seconds to Konkoly’s 4:36.76 - a difference of just 0.08.
Tonight’s gold will sit alongside the S8 gold she won over the same distance in Rio 2016 and the S9 world title in 2019.
Patterson’s approach this evening was in contrast to her heat this morning, where she was content to shadow Ellie Cole, qualify comfortably in second and save energy.
Patterson trains at the Belgravia club in Burpengary with head coach Harley Connolly and alongside twice Paralympic gold medalist Brenden Hall.
However, the 28-year-old at his fourth Paralympics, was unable to add Tokyo 2020 to the Men's 400m Freestyle S9 crowns he won in London 2012 and Rio 2016, just missing out on a medal.
Hall, from Mango Hill, was in the middle of the pack for most of the final, but could not power his way onto the podium in the final lap.
He finished in 4 minutes 14.48 seconds, to take fourth place behind Australian team-mate Will Martin 4:10.25, France’s Ugo Didier 4:11.33 and fellow Aussie Alexander Tuckfield 4:13.54.
However, Hall still has the 100m Backstroke S9 on Monday and 100m Butterfly S9 next Thursday.