Colombia attains historic results at Paralympic Games

Colombian Paralympic Athletes with their medals. Photo Credit: Comite Paralimpico Colombiano Facebook Page, @colparalimpico

As happened in this year’s summer Olympics, the 2016 Paralympics registered our country’s best historical performance. Before this September, Colombia had five medals in their Paralympic history, now after the first event held in South America, the “Cafetero” team increased that total number to twenty-two.

In Rio, overall, Colombia had a record haul of seventeen medals, including two golds, five silvers, ten bronzes, and thirty-eight Olympic diplomas, finishing thirty-seven in the world standings and second in the regional table just behind the host, Brazil. Athletics (seven), Swimming (seven), and Cycling (three) were the sports that gave medals to the athletes wearing the yellow uniform.

The golds were claimed by Mauricio Valencia (Athletics, Javelin class F34) and Carlos D Serrano (Swimming, 100 meters Breaststroke SB7). The silvers were won by Luis F Lucumí (Athletics, Javelin F38), Nelson Crispín Corso (Swimming, 100 meters Breaststroke SB6, 50 meters Freestyle S6, and 100 meters Freestyle S6), and Carlos D Serrano (100 meters Freestyle S7). The bronzes meanwhile were awarded to Martha L Hernández (100 flat meters T37), Mauricio Valencia (Athletics, Bala F34), Arango- Restrepo- Luna- González (Women’s Relay Race 4×100 Athletics T11-13), Weiner Díaz (Athletics, 400 meters T38), Maritza Arango (Athletics, 1.500 meters T11), Carlos D Serrano (Swimming, 50 meters Freestyle S7), Moisés Fuentes (Swimming, 100 meters Breaststroke SB7), Diego Dueñas (Cycling, 4000 meters individual chasing C4), Edwin Matiz (Cycling, 4000 meters individual chasing C5), and Javier Ayala (Cycling, Route T1-2).

China finished atop the Paralympics Games with one hundred seven golds, eighty-one silvers, and fifty-one bronzes, for a total of two hundred thirty-nine medals. Great Britain and Ukraine finished in second and third place respectively, with one hundred forty-seven, and one hundred seventeen. The best South American team was Brazil, who finished eighth in the world with seventy-two medals. The third on the continent and finishing fifty-fourth in the global standings, was Argentina with five medals.

Coincidentally, in the middle of these games, on September 9th, Barranquilla opened its first Boccia court. Located in Felfe Park, just a couple blocks from the Metropolitano stadium, the district built a space for the practice of an exclusively Paralympic discipline. Boccia is a precision ball sport played by athletes with severe physical disabilities. It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes contestants with other serious disabilities affecting motor skills. After becoming an official Paralympic sport in 1984, it started to be one of only three Paralympic disciplines that have no counterpart in the Olympic program.

After its opening, the neighbors of the park expressed their excitement for having this type of court so close to their homes, but they also manifested their concerns with the access to the renovated facility. Some of them argue that the entrances to this green area are not adequately designed for little kids or people with disabilities coming in wheelchairs. Also, they mentioned that to finish faster, the construction operators deviated an arroyo that used to pass by the park, and because of that, it left some water leaks on the north alley that during the rainy season will cause floods on the houses nearby.

For more images check the upcoming SportsBAQ show, where we show the park, the court and have some interviews with the neighbors and workers of Parque Felfe.

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Fran graduated from Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Journalism and Sports Journalism. Before returning to his native Barranquilla, he traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America. When he’s not busy writing or reporting on a game, he’s probably watching whatever sports news is on TV. He also enjoys dancing, learning new languages and cultures.