Cuban Track and Field Stars Wrap Up Golden Harvest

15 Miriam y OmaraCuba’s final day at the V Parapan American Games on August 14 wrapped up with a third world record for Omara Durand and more gold medals won by Luis Felipe Gutierrez and Leonardo Diaz in track and field.

Omara Durand was in her fifth straight day of competition and suffering problems with her left thigh. Despite this she surged ahead in the last 50 metres of the 200m T12 taking the gold and setting another world record.

The feat came one day after improving her best time in the 200 m T12 to 23.87 seconds, and in the final Durard trimmed another 0.2 seconds.

“It was a special day to run — not like yesterday where there was a lot of headwind and I knew that — but this is unexpected, because I had only today left to win the gold for Cuba,” the 23-year-old Durand told JIT. With her victory on August 14 Durand repeats her Guadalajara 2011 gold medal hat-trick.

“I am here because of my coach Miriam Ferrer, the best rehabilitation, and thanks to the care for my daughter Erika so I could prepare,” said Durand. “[Miriam] is both a mother and friend to me and to all of us. It has enabled me to be an athlete and mother at the same time,” she said. Durand recently returned from maternity leave, and is keen to return to the prominence she enjoyed after winning gold medals in the 100 and 300 metre sprints at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Luis Felipe Gutierrez won Cuba’s eleventh track and field gold of the Parapan Am Games on August 14 in the men’s long jump. Gutierrez previously made a world record jump of 7.66 m in Guadalajara 2011. He made his mark at 7.47 m in the F13 category in Toronto for the gold.

“I feel happy because injuries have affected me in previous months. I went nearly five months without training, so I arrived with a disadvantage but came out with another gold in my favorite specialty,” said Gutierrez.

“I hope to recover in time for upcoming events and go to Rio de Janeiro. I am always thinking positive and we have at our disposal all the medical and technical assistance to do so — being here is a great example of that,” he said.

Fellow Cuban long jumper Angel Jimenez went down a step on the podium from his Guadalajara 2011 performance, finishing third with a jump of 6.62 m.

Leonardo Diaz won his second gold with an Americas record in the shot put F56 with a mark of 10.68 m. Earlier Diaz took gold in discus and silver in javelin.

Cuba’s final medal count in track and field is eleven gold, eight silver and eight bronze. This includes Gerdan Fonseca’s silver in the F44 javelin with an Americas record of 53.12, and third places in javelin for Yaumara Milan in the F11-12 class and Ernesto Blanco in the 200 m T47.

JIT

Parapan Am Games, Track and Field