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Cuban Omara Durand, the fastest Paralympian in the world

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Known in Cuba as “the queen of the Paralympic Games”, Omara Durand is thirsty for gold. At 29, she already has six coronations in three participations. After winning the 400m in Tokyo, the visually impaired athlete is still in contention for the 100m and 200m.

Omara Durand is the undisputed queen of speed. Since the start of her career, the Cuban has won absolutely everything and intends to do the same at the Tokyo Paralympic Games where she is aiming for a hat-trick. The athlete has already won the 400m on Tuesday August 31 and is still competing in the 100m final on Thursday and the 200m qualifying on Friday.

Born 29 years ago in Santiago de Cuba with a visual impairment, she started playing sports at the age of 7. The little girl is then frustrated by her handicap, a congenital cataract. “It’s as if I couldn’t have a normal life because of this visual impairment,” she told the website of the International Para athletics Federation.

But Omara Durand quickly proved to be excellent in the race. She competed for the first time at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008 (category T13). She leaves empty-handed from China, but the groundwork has been laid. Three years later, she made an impression at the Worlds in Christchurch, New Zealand. She won her first two gold medals in the 200m and 400m. Nothing can stop it now.

A mess of titles

In London, in 2012, she was crowned in the 100m with a time of 12s. She becomes the fastest visually impaired athlete in history. She also won the 400m final.

After the birth of her daughter, her eyesight deteriorated, and she was reclassified in the T12 category (for the visually impaired with a guide). This does not prevent him from continuing to chain the titles. In Rio, in 2016, where she is the flag bearer of the Cuban delegation as in London in 2012, she achieved the treble in the 100m, 200m and 400m. She also holds the world records for her three favorite events.

A bond with his guide

His motivation in competition? “My daughter” of 8 years, Ericka “, she explained before the Games to AFP.” She is the one who inspires me day after day. “As for the ex-athlete Miriam Ferrer, who trains her, it is the one that gives her “the magic, the alchemy, to put all the efforts necessary to compete in 100 m, 200 m and 400 m”. “It is thanks to her that I ‘ve had all these good results, “insists Omara Durand.

She also owes her success to Yunior Kindelan, her guide who runs alongside her, but also one of her closest friends. “We share a really strong camaraderie since the first day we met. It has only grown over the years,” she summed up to the official Paralympic Games website.

As with many athletes around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted his training routine, with sports centers in Cuba having closed as a precaution. “The Covid has arrived and we had to stop,” she said. But “I have always done my best to stay in shape, at home” or in open places without crowds.

“Physically, I feel very good […]. I improved a lot in all the lap times we did, “said Omara Durand. In total, the track star won 11 gold medals at Worlds and 11 others in Paralympic championships. The clock is far behind. to be arrested.

With AFP