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Jessica Lewis warms up for T53 100m final with personal best in 800

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Wheelchair sprinter Jessica Lewis began her campaign at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics by finishing last of six in her T53 800 metres heat in the Olympic Stadium tonight — albeit in a personal-best time.

Jessica Lewis on her way to winning the silver medal in the T53 800 metres final at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, in 2019 (Photograph courtesy of Lima 2019)

The result was not good enough to qualify the Bermudian for the final tomorrow morning, as only the top three finishers plus the two fastest losers advanced.

Jessica Lewis crosses over in fourth during the early stages of the T53 800 metres heats at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics (Screengrab by Dexter Smith)

However, Lewis will not be overly disappointed because the 800 has been long seen as an event to get the competitive cobwebs out after a period of inactivity in advance of her primary event — the T53 100 metres final on Wednesday morning.

She will also be gratified in completing the two-lap race in 1min 57.77sec, knocking almost half a second off her previous best.

Zhou Hongzhuan, of China, left, and Turkey’s Hamide Dogangun lock horns in an exciting race to the finish (Screengrab by Dexter Smith)

Lewis’s 100 metres speed came to the fore in the early stages of the race, as she managed to cross over in fourth after starting out wide assigned to lane eight.

But she was in a heat that contained a few accomplished performers, and it was they who took over once the bell went off to signify the final lap.

Paralympic record-holder Zhou Hongzhuan, of China, dominated the early stages and looked every bit the winner until Turkey’s Hamide Dogangun made good ground on her inside and won out in a sprint.

The winning time was 1:51.05, with Zhou second in 1:51.16 and Catherine Debrunner, of Switzerland, third in 1:51.47.

Australian Angela Ballard was fourth in 1:52.50 and American Chelsea McClammer fifth in 1:52.69. They go through into the final as the fastest losers.

Heat one was won by world champion Madison de Rozario, of Australia, in 1:49.21. Samantha Kinghorn, of Great Britain, was second in 1:50.83 and Hoang Yen, of the United States, third in 1:51.49.

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Published August 30, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated August 30, 2021 at 7:59 am)

Jessica Lewis warms up for T53 100m final with personal best in 800

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