Three Chilean athletes have earned a total of four medals at the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. One, Francisca Mardones, even broke a world record. Prior to this, only one Chilean had ever medaled at the Paralympic Games, and that was nine years ago.
Chilean athletes at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2021 have earned four medals to date since the games owned on Aug. 24: two gold and two silver. This is quite a success, considering that Chile didn’t win a single medal at the Olympic Games earlier this year.
Following are Chile’s Paralympic winners:
Alberto Abarza, a 36-year-old swimmer from San Bernardo, was the first to win gold for Chile, on the second day of the games.
He competed in the 100-meter backstroke, S2 category, and won first place with a time of 2:00:40, beating Ukrainian athlete Vladimir Danilenko with a time of 2:00:74 and Brazilian athlete Gabriel Dos Santos with a time 2:02:47.
On Aug. 29, these same three swimmers traded places for the 200-meter freestyle, S2 category, and Dos Santos won gold with a time of 4:06:52, Abarza won silver with a time of 4:14:17, and Danilenko won bronze with a time of 4:15:95.
Abarza is also a triple Parapan American Games champion and four-time World Championship bronze medalist.
Forty-six-year-old Francisca Mardones has already competed in a few different paralympic disciplines. She previously competed as a wheelchair tennis player in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Paralympics, but then retired to focus on athletics.
Mardones became the first female Chilean paralympic athlete to get a gold medal, competing in shot put, category F54. She set a world record in 2019, with 8.19 meters, and broke her own record twice in her six attempts, reaching 8.21 and 8.33 meters.
She beat Mexican athlete Gloria Zarza, who won silver with a throw of 8.06 meters, and Uzbek athlete Nurkhon Kurbanova, who won bronze with a throw of 7.77 meters.
Mariana Zúñiga, a 19-year-old archer, won silver at this, her first Paralympic Games. British athlete Phoebe Pine squeaked past her by one point, winning old with 134 to Zúñiga’s 133.
In the semifinals, Zúñiga beat Russian athlete Stepanida Artakhinova, 142 to 141.
In the 28 years that Chile has competed in the Paralympic Games, its athletes have only earned five medals, and four of them this year alone. The first medal was won by Cristian Valenzuela in 2021 in London: he won gold in the men’s 5000-meter, T11 category.
Javiera is from Santiago de Chile, she is studying journalism at Universidad de Chile, since 2017 and doing her internship at Chile Today.