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Paralympic Games

Tokyo Paralympics: Cuba Finishes with Its Lowest Medal Count Ever

With four gold medals, one silver and one bronze, it did not achieve its goal of placing among the top 20 countries in the final medal count.

La Habana
Cuban Paralympic champion Omara Durand.
Cuban Paralympic champion Omara Durand. ACN

The Cuban delegation that attended the 16th Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020 won just six medals, falling short of its goal, set by sports officials, of finishing among the top 20 in the final medal count, winding up in 35th place.

Four gold medals, one silver and one bronze was all that the 16 paratriathletes were able to muster. This was the smallest Cuban delegation at these events since Sydney 2000, where with 10 representatives Cuba won two more medals.

This is the lowest number of medals won by the island in its entire Paralympic history, since its debut in Barcelona 1992, although it is not its worst finish: in the summer event in Athens (2004) the Cuban delegation finished in 43rd place, with only a pair of golds, though on that occasion more athletes made it the podium, thanks to two silver medals and seven bronzes.

Cuba had ranked among the top 20 nations at the last two editions of the Paralympic Games, but, as a result of the strides made in the area of sports for the disabled around  the world, along with the decline in sports on the island due to its perpetual economic crisis, the specialists’ forecasts were all upended.

The big star with the Cuban delegation was, once again, sprinter Omara Durand. The athlete, who has no rivals in the world in the "serious visual impairment category," and has not lost a race in a decade, claimed three golds for Cuba.

The "Queen of the Tracks," easily dominated the three events in which she competed (100, 200 and 400 meters) and set a world record in the double hectometer to close out Cuba’s performance at these games.

The contingent’s other gold medal went to Yankiel del Sol, in the long jump. Just 18 years of age, and with no international track record, nobody had their eye on him, but he made the jump of his life, pulling off the biggest surprise of these games for Cuba.

While fans on the island bemoaned the drop in the overall medal tally, Latin America achieved its best performance at the Paralympic Games: nine countries reached the podium for the first time in history, and five of them had athletes who broke world records in their respective events.

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