The USA’s Kevin Mather beat Zhao Lixue of China, 6-4, to claim the recurve men’s gold and become Paralympic Champion at Tokyo 2020.

“It feels heavy at the moment. It feels incredible. This is my first time seeing one from these Games up close. I’m just blown away,” said Mather.

Seeded 17 after qualification with 606 points, he beat Eugen Patru in the first round, Gholamreza Rahimi in the second and Sadik Sivas in the quarters.

In the semifinal, he faced Harvinder Singh of India and took the match to five sets, winning it 6-4.

That was the same result he needed to win the gold medal match against Chinese finalist Zhao Lixue.

“I’m glad that my training was enough. Often, [there are] times you put in the work and shoot until your fingers are calloused, blistered and bloody and you hope when you show up on the day that you put in enough work. This medal proves that to me. We’ll see if I get any sleep tonight I’ll be so excited,” added Mather.

The 39-year-old took the first two sets before sharing the third, losing the fourth and then tying the last set once again to secure the win.

India’s Harvinder Singh took the bronze over Kim Min Su of Korea.

In the same event, Eric Bennett, also from the USA, finished ninth. Heriberto Alves Roca of Brazil and Samuel Molina of Mexico both ended 17th.

Tokyo was Kevin’s first Paralympic Games.