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Beaten by a bloke named Jesus, Kelly and Scooter’s first Paralympic medals are still heavenly

Tokyo: Ahmed Kelly and Grant “Scooter” Patterson’s second and third places in the SM3 150m individual medley race on Saturday evening behind a bloke named Jesus will go in the running as the most heart-warming medals for the Australian Paralympic swimming team at these Games.

Kelly is the three-time Paralympian who grew up in an orphanage in Baghdad after being born with severely underdeveloped arms and legs, while Patterson finally has a Paralympic medal to his name after missing out in London and not travelling to Rio in 2016.

Grant Patterson left, and Ahmed Kelly, both of Australia, embrace after finishing third and second respectively in the men’s SM3 150 metre individual medley final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.

Grant Patterson left, and Ahmed Kelly, both of Australia, embrace after finishing third and second respectively in the men’s SM3 150 metre individual medley final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.Credit:Getty

Patterson has diastrophic dysplasia, a form of dwarfism, but his disability hasn’t diminished his infectious and vivacious energy around the Australian swim team.

The pair, who take a little longer to glide through the pool than others, are great mates and the two most physically impaired members of Australia’s team.

Both striving for maiden medals, the Australians in lane four and five fought until the final few metres but couldn’t overhaul the swimmer with a Christian name plus two surnames: Jesus Hernandez Hernandez.

Kelly was fifth at the 50m mark but surged into second at the 100m before touching the wall in 3:02.23, while Patterson finished in 3:05.57.

Patterson swore off the booze in November 2019 and has earned a Bacardi and orange juice, his drink of choice, but only once he finishes four more events.

“Nine years ago if you said I’d be in a Paralympic final with the potential of winning a bronze medal, I’d be like ‘you’re joking’,” Patterson said. “I was always going to stick at it and be there and if an opportunity arose, I’d be there to snatch it up. It’s good to know all the hard work has paid off.

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