Madison de Rozario made history and became Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games champion in the women’s – T54 marathon on Sunday 5th September 2021, as she won her second gold of the Games and became Australia’s first female Paralympic marathon champion on the final day of action.
Competing in her fourth Paralympics, the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holder de Rozario had already added the elusive Paralympic champion title to her phenomenal accolade list when she won gold in the women’s 800 metre – T53 event, as she broke the Paralympic record. She also claimed bronze in the women’s 1,500 metre – T54 event, and it came down to the very competitive marathon to close out her Tokyo campaign.
The marathon was a grueling, tactical and fast race, American athlete Susannah Scaroni broke away from the start and built a 1:16 minute lead by the half way mark, and at the 40 kilometre mark she was still over a minute up but as an elite group of five racers including de Rozario and world record holder and defending Paralympic champion Switzerland athlete Manuela Schaer caught Scaroni with 2.2 kilometres to race, it was going to be a fast and tactical finish.
De Rozario put together a brilliant final section coming into the Olympic Stadium in first and held off Schaer to the finish line in a new Paralympic record of 1:38:11, with Schaer a second behind. All 16 competitors set season bests, personal bests and in de Rozario’s case a Paralympic record.
Fellow NSWIS scholarship holder Christie Dawes competing in her seventh Paralympic Games came home eighth. Dawes an icon of Paralympic sport especially within athletics claimed three medals in her previous six Games.