Paralympics: Lapthorne wins bronze after four-hour epic


Eastcote’s Andy Lapthorne won Paralympic bronze after the longest wheelchair tennis match in the Games’ history.

Lapthorne and partner Jamie Burdekin beat Itay Erenlib and Shraga Weinberg 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) in a four hour and 25 minute epic.

Ickenham-based Jordanne Whiley also retained the women’s doubles bronze medal she won in London 2012 with Lucy Shuker.

But it was the remarkable display of endurance from Lapthorne and Burdekin which caught the eye, as they won a marathon second set that lasted nearly two hours.

After an extended break due to the heat, which had touched 40 degrees in Rio at some points during the day, they then outlasted Erenlip and Weinberg in a final set tie-break to spark celebrations.

Lapthorne said: “I’ve trained so hard over the past four years since London and this is where I wanted to be.

“There was no way I was going to let us get beaten out there.”

Lapthorne also has a chance for gold on Wednesday when he plays Dylan Alcott in the quad singles final.

After defeat in the women’s singles quarter-final, Ickenham-based Whiley had reason to smile after she and Shuker beat Yui Kamiji and Miho Nijo in the bronze medal match.

They won the first set 6-3 but were whitewashed in the second, before cruising through the decider to 6-1.

Ealing teenager Dimitri Coutya, however, couldn’t repeat his bronze medal efforts from this year’s European Championship in the men’s individual epee fencing.

He won two and lost two of his pool matches, before bowing out to eventual gold medallist Andrei Pranevich in the quarter-finals, 15-13.

Uxbridge’s Natasha Baker made a great start to her equestrian campaign by winning the grade II team test.

Riding her London 2012 double gold medal-winning horse, Cabral, Baker scored 71.882 for the win, less than 0.06 of a point ahead of second-placed Demi Vermeulen of the Netherlands.