Golden day for Kiwis in Rio

Liam Malone celebrates winning gold in the 200m T44 race at Maracena Stadium. Photo:Getty Images
Liam Malone celebrates winning gold in the 200m T44 race at Maracena Stadium. Photo:Getty Images

New Zealand has surged up the medal table at the Paralympics with three gold medals within 90 minutes at the Rio Games.

It was a golden morning for New Zealand with swimmers Cameron Leslie, Sophie Pascoe and sprinter Liam Malone all claiming gold medals. Swimmer Nikita Howarth added a bronze to take New Zealand's medal tally for the Games to 13.

Pascoe became New Zealand's most successful Paralympian with victory in the 100m Butterfly S10 to claim the ninth gold and 14th medal of her career.

Sophie Pascoe won another gold in the pool, making her New Zealand's most successful Paralympian. Photo: Getty Images
Sophie Pascoe won another gold in the pool, making her New Zealand's most successful Paralympian. Photo: Getty Images

She has now matched compatriot Eve Rimmer's record of 14 Paralympic medals; however by taking gold today, Pascoe edged ahead of Rimmer in the standings, with a total of nine gold, five silver compared with Rimmer's eight gold, five silver and one bronze.

Pascoe set a Paralympic record of 1:02.65 and just missed breaking her own world record of 1:02.60 set earlier in 2016. She annihilated Yi Chen (China) and Oliwia Jablonska (Poland) by more than 4 and 5 seconds respectively.

Pascoe's third gold in Rio came just 20 minutes after Cameron Leslie smashed his own world record to claim the 150m Individual Medley SM4 title for a third straight Olympics.

Leslie finished in a time of 2:23.12 followed by China's Zhipeng Jin in second, with Jonas Larsen of Denmark taking the bronze.

Malone then once again showed the sporting world that he meant business by setting a Paralympics record winning the Men's 200m T44 in 21.06.

Malone showed his power moving through the race to cross the line ahead of Hunter Woodhall (USA - 21.12) and David Bahre (Germany - 21.41).

The three gold medals today take New Zealand's total gold tally to seven and the 13 medals total for the Games.

Howarth took out bronze in the 50m Butterfly S7 final after setting the fastest time in heats.

Earlier, Mary Fisher finished sixth in the 50m Freestyle S1 final.

Cameron Leslie smashed his own world record. Photo: Getty Images
Cameron Leslie smashed his own world record. Photo: Getty Images

New Zealand's youngest team member, Tupou Neiufi, made her Paralympic debut competing in the Women's 100m Freestyle S9 finishing seventh in 1:11.21, while 16-year-old Hamish McLean was in the pool for his second event in Rio, placing fifth in the Men's 200m Individual Medley SM6 in a time of 2:59.81. Both Paralympians did not qualify for their respective finals.

Over at the Olympic Stadium debutant Paralympian William Stedman set a Paralympic record of 5.35m on his first attempt in the Men's Long Jump T36, surpassing his personal best by 13cm. Following Stedman's jump, this record was then exceeded by two other Paralympians. Stedman finished in fifth place.

Jacob Phillips ran his second final of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games finishing eighth in the Men's 200m T35 final in a time of 29.10.

Nikita Howarth won bronze in the 50m butterfly. Photo: Getty Images
Nikita Howarth won bronze in the 50m butterfly. Photo: Getty Images

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