The Paralympic 1,500m final witnessed a stunning outcome in Rio last night as the top four finishers achieved quicker times than the Olympic Games gold medallist.
Algeria’s paralympian Abdellatif Baka, along with three other para-athletes, recorded times in the in the 1500m – T13 event, which would have been enough to win a gold medal in the main 1500m event during the Rio Olympics. But the Algerian was not the only one to better that of the Olympic field in a T13 class, which caters for visually impaired competitors. There are two other classes for visually impaired athletes in the form of T11 and T12, with the lower numbers indicating a more severe impairment.
Baka won the gold in three minutes and 48.29 seconds, while Ethiopia’s Tamiru Demisse who took silver with 3:48.49 and Kenyan Henry Kirwa (3:49.59), walked away bronze. Fouad Baka, the brother of the gold medallist, finished outside the medals but clocked 3:49.84 – again ahead of the Olympic Games gold time.
The feat was made all the more stunning given the fact that the second, third and fourth-placed finishers all recorded times faster than Centrowicz Jr. of the U.S., meaning that four Paralympic athletes had run times fast enough to win gold had they competed in the Olympic Games. Centrowitz Jr. had finished the final in 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Amazing! Hats off to these paralympians!
Our Indian para-athletes have done extremely well in almost all international events. Perhaps even better than our Olympians. They have won a gold medal too in Rio. I salute them for being dedicated and disciplined to achieve the unachievable.