Cuba Achieves Historic Performance in Paralympics

Havana, Sep 10 (IANS): Cuba achieved its best performance in the London Paralympics 2012, which ended Sunday, winning nine gold, five silver and three bronze medals.

The best Cuban athlete was runner Yunisdis Castillo, who won three gold medals and set three world records, reports Xinhua.

Castillo, who is a right-arm amputee, had the best performance of the Cuban delegation. Last Saturday she won her third gold medal in 400-meter (T-46), set up the world record with 55:72 seconds, followed by South African Anrune Liebenberg (56:65) and Polish Alicja Fiodorow (58:48).

The Cuban runner became the first woman to win three gold medals in Paralympics, also won the 100-meter competition with a record of 11:95 seconds, as well as the 200-meter competition with a record of 24:45.

With her three medals and records, Castillo became the Cuban most laureate disabled athlete since Barcelona 1992, winning a total of five gold medals, including the two gold medals she won in Beijing 2008. She now surpassed the four gold medals won by jumper and runner Enrique Cepeda in Barcelona 1992 and Athens 2004.

The second best Cuban athlete was runner Omara Durand, 20, an athlete with visual impaiment, who won the 100 and 400-meter competitions and has the current world record in 100 and 200-meter and is the world champion in 200 and 400 in Christchurch-11.

Durand said: "I am very happy with the two gold medals. It's the best thing that ever happened to me."

The other Cuban gold medals were won by Leonardo Diaz in discus throw, and by Luis Felipe Guerra in long jump, who currently has the world record of 7.66 meters.

The last two gold medals were won in judo by Dalidaivis Rodriguez, who won the 63-kilogram division, after defeating Chinese Tong Zhou and by Jorge Hierrezuelo, who won the 90-kilogram division against British Samuel Ingram.

In the London Paralympic Games, Cuba surpassed its earlier best performance in Atlanta 96, placing the 13th in the final medal table, which is led by China, followed by Britain and Russia.

The Cuban delegation had 24 athletes, while four years ago, in Beijing 2008, Cuba sent 31 athletes, the largest since Barcelona 1992.

In Beijing 2008, Cuba won five gold, three silver and six bronze medals for the 23rd overall place.


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