With a tally of 5 gold medals between them, Stellar sprinters Omara Durand and Yunidis Castillo were Cuba‘s brightest stars at the Toronto Para Pan-American Games.
Durand took the 100, 200 and 400m gold in the T-12 (weak vision) breaking world records in the first two categories, and Castillo, a five time Paralympic champion, triumphed in the T-46 (physical disability) double hectometer and 100m.
Although the first shined particularly brightly because of her records, both reclaimed titles they had taken at the previous games in Guadalajara-2011.
In the shortest distance race, Durand broke the standing record in the qualifiers with a time of 11.65 seconds and her time of 23.87 in the 200m semifinals exceeded her 24.24 record set during the 2011 Christchurch World Championships record.
Durand said in comments to the press that “We are children of a system that does not discriminate against any form of disability; in my own case I attended a special school for the visually impaired and discovered sport which further integrated me into society”.
Cuba’s first athletics gold at the games, won by Leinier Savon in the hectometer T-46, was made in a world record time of 10.61 seconds, but due to strong winds in York stadium it was not officially recognized.
Despite not breaking the 10.66 record set in Bologna, Italy by Elchin Muradov in 2010, the athlete showed great promise.
In field events, the Cuban Leonardo won three medals in the F-56 wheelchair category with a gold in the discus, silver in the javelin and bronze in the shot-put.
The paralympic monarch of Beijing-2008, London-2012, and Chrischurch-2011 and Lyon-2013 World champion matched his previous Guadalajara performance.
Another outstanding figure of the Cuban delegation was Loren Perez,S-16 physical disability triple medal winner in swimming, having taken gold in both the 100m and 400m, and silver in the 50m freestyle.
Perez set a world record in the 100m freestyle with a time of 1.04.60 minutes, breaking the 1.05.45 time set in 2009 by Sweden’s Anders Olsson in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Perez beat Colombian Nelson Crispin, recently crowned in Glasgow-2015 who now, despite bringing his American record time down by 43 hundredths of a second to 1.06.60, came in second.
This took something of the sting out of coming second in his 50m race; despite setting a personal best lower than the London-2012 Paralympic silver time.Share on FB Share on TT