Cuba: Six for six

Cuba's three athletes participating in the World Paralympics performed like an equilateral triangle in the Christchurch event, which ended January 30 with China winning 21 gold medals, 22 silver and 15 bronze.

19-year-old Omara Durand, world  champion in the 200 meters, with
 a time of 24.24 seconds

The performance of Cuba's athletes was truly admirable. They not only won all of the events in which they competed, but also set records either for the competition or world-wide.

Omara Durand, from Santiago de Cuba, was the most recent star in the Queen Elizabeth II stadium, running the 400 meters in the T-13 category in 54.87 seconds, the fastest in events around the world this year, just 41 hundredths behind the all-time record held by Marla Runyan from the United States, established on January 3, 1995. Where Omara really flew was in the 200 meters in which she registered a time of 24.24 seconds.

In this event, Durand rediscovered the success which launched her as a star in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) 3rd World Games in Sao Paulo and the Para-Pan American Games in Río de Janeiro, both in 2007, during which she dominated both the 200- and 400-meter competitions at just 16 years of age.

Also undefeated was Yunidis Castillo, 'daughter of the wind', who won the three races she entered, including her debut in the 400 meters, with a 57.67 time. In the 100 and 200 meter events she established world records of 12.20 and 24.86 seconds respectively. At 23 years of age, Yunidis enjoys the status of double world record holder and will certainly not stop until she sets more record times on the track.

Discus thrower Leonardo Díaz confirmed his dominance as a Paralympic champion and owner of the best world record within the F-56 category. This time his longest throw flew for 43.10 meters, with three more possible records in six attempts of 41.42; 42.22 and 42.78 meters.

Cuba's 'three musketeers' of track and field claimed the 15th spot for the country among 54 nations which won at least one medal. Accompanying the victorious Chinese athletes were those from Russia with 18 gold medals, 11 silver and six bronze; Britain (12-9-17), Brazil (12-9-7), Poland (12-7-6) and United States (9-10-14).

Full results are available from the IPC Athletics World Championships webpage