26 August, 2021
Lucky wins Gold at Tokyo Paralympics
Caboolture-based swimmer Lakeisha ‘Lucky’ Patterson claimed a gold medal in thrilling style at the Tokyo Paralympics on Wednesday night (August 26).
After winning two gold medals at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Patterson grabbed glory by the skinniest of margins in the women’s S9 400m freestyle final in Tokyo, edging out Zsofia Konkoly of Hungary by 0.08 of a second.
The eventual runner-up momentarily gained the lead on the final lap before Patterson regained the advantage, and touched the wall in 4 minutes and 36.68 seconds, with Konkoly fractionally behind.
Patterson’s achievement produced one of six gold medals for Australia on day one of the Paralympics, with four coming from swimming and two from track cycling.
The win was the culmination of what Lakeisha called “navigating unprecedented times” due to the Covid pandemic, and said her preparation for the Paralympics was unlike anything that she and other athletes had experienced before.
In an interview with the Sentinel News before heading to Tokyo, Lakeisha said Covid impacted everyone across the world in various ways.
“I think the Games will be a real testament to everyone’s resilience, determination and adaptability to persevere under tough circumstances to be able to compete,” Lakeisha said.
“It has been difficult navigating training around lockdowns and restrictions, but with my goal in sight and an incredible team and family behind me, I have just had to get creative and adapt to the situations that arise.
“Open water sessions, dryland training, swimming on a tethered rope, were all ways of getting training in during the toughest part of Covid last year.
“Fortunately, now training is full steam ahead in the lead-up to the Games, and I feel incredibly lucky that the Games are still going ahead and we can showcase our efforts to the world and hopefully spark some hope and joy to others watching on.”
Despite many setbacks, Lakeisha was determined not to allow adversity to get in her way.
She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after a stroke at birth, and also battles epilepsy and micrographia.