Cuban paralympic athletes getting ready for Tokyo 2020

Cuban paralympic athletes getting ready for Tokyo 2020
Fecha de publicación: 
7 March 2021
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Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuban Paralympic athletes increase their training with the purpose of winning new titles at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, to be held from August 24 to September 9.

Cuba has the potential to qualify 39 athletes and reach the Paralympic podium through runners Omara Durand and Yunidis Castillo, swimmer Lorenzo Pérez and shooter Marino Heredia.

A total of four athletes have so far qualified for the Japanese games: Omara Durand, super-star sprinter and reoccurring champion in London 2012 and Rio 2016, javelin thrower Ulicer Aguilera, table tennis player Yunier Fernández, and Lorenzo Pérez, also gold champion swimmer of the 2016 Rio Games.

Without a doubt, Durand – five-time Paralympic champion and world record holder in 100, 200 and 400 meters in the T12 category (visually-impaired athlete) – is at present the face of the Latin American Paralympic movement.

A survey conducted by the International Paralympic Committee on social media named her the best athlete of the last decade.

'It gives me great satisfaction to know that have I set an example for all athletes. The admiration of the Cuban people fills me with pride and encourages me to go on, especially for this beautiful country,' the outstanding sprinter told Prensa Latina.

Other Cuban track and field athletes will try to qualify for Tokyo at the Tunisia Grand Prix, to take place from March 18-20, including five-time Paralympic winner Yunidis Castillo - T47 (upper-limb amputee).

After two years absent from track and field, Castillo – who also won the Para-Pan-American championships on six occasions – returned to training with sights set on adding other titles to her brilliant career.

Other athletes to compete in the abovementioned event include 400m runner Cristian Carlos Guillén (T47/upper-limb amputee); sprinter Leinier Savón (T12); discus thrower Leonardo Díaz (F56/wheelchair), and javelin throwers Guillermo Varona (F46 / upper-limb amputee), Uliser Aguilera (F13/visually- impaired player) and Gerdan Fonseca (F64/lower-limb disabled player).

Cuba's potential to increase the number of qualified athletes largely relies on athletics, swimming, weightlifting, sport shooting, archery, taekwondo, triathlon, cycling and judo, Cuban Paralympic Committee's secretary Oscar Beltrán said.

Qualifying tournaments and other meetings will take place in the first six months of this year. In these competitions, athletes can test their physical and technical preparation with sights set on the most important event in 2021: the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Cuba has participated in seven editions of the Paralympic Games and has won 85 medals: 39 gold, 19 silver and 27 bronze.

In Rio 2016, Cuba's 22-player Paralympic delegation finished 18th among 160 countries, with 15 medals – 8 gold, 1 silver and 6 bronze.



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