10520-Lenine Cunha photo

Lenine Cunha



Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Intellectual impairment
Origin of Impairment
T20, F20

Further personal information

Vila Nova de Gaia, POR
Portuguese, Spanish, English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up athletics at age seven at the Clube Federado in Portugal, and began formal training in Para athletics at age 16.
Why this sport?
His mother encouraged him to become involved in sport as a way to help him recover from the after-effects of meningitis. There were athletes in his family as well.
Club / Team
Clube Futebol Oliveira do Douro: Vila Nova de Gaia, POR
Name of coach
Jose Costa Pereira [personal], POR, from 1999

International debut

Competing for

General interest

Lenny (Athlete, 14 Dec 2011)
Listening to music, surfing the internet. (, 08 Mar 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning bronze in the T20 long jump at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and winning gold in the T20 triple jump at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. (, 08 Mar 2019;, 09 Mar 2020)
Most influential person in career
His mother, and coach Jose Costa Pereira. (, 08 Mar 2019;, 09 Mar 2020)
Hero / Idol
British triple jumper Jonathan Edwards, Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018;, 26 Feb 2020)
He suffered a left knee injury in 2017 that required surgery. He took nine months to return to fitness. He also injured the same knee in 2014. (, 28 Nov 2014;, 14 Sep 2017; Facebook page, 09 Jul 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I want to be remembered for never giving up. I want people to look at me and see hope. And I want people to know that, even when everything looks dark, you can still thrive and be the best in the world if you believe." (, 08 Mar 2019)
Awards and honours
He received the Best Male Athlete Award at the 2017 International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability [INAS] Awards. (, 23 Apr 2017)
To set a personal best at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. He wants to become a coach after his competitive career is over. "I want to help kids with or without impairment. It's something that helps in life. And who knows if one of them will compete at the Paralympic Games." (, 09 Mar 2020;, 03 Dec 2019)
He contracted meningitis at age four. The illness resulted in speech impediments as well as diminished hearing, memory, vision and function of his left side. (Facebook page, 18 Oct 2017;, 11 Apr 2015; Athlete, 20 Aug 2018;, 09 Mar 2020)
Other information
In November 2015 he formed his own club, Sport Clube Lenine Cunha, which aims to help young athletes start and develop their sporting careers. "We aim to provide the right opportunities for those who are determined to pursue athletics. I want to become a coach and use my experience in order to help people who want to thrive in the sport or simply adopt a healthy lifestyle." (, 08 Mar 2019;, 21 Dec 2015;, 04 Apr 2017;, 26 Feb 2020)

His mother passed away from cancer in 2015. He dedicated the gold medal he won in the T20 triple jump at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, to her. "I lost my mother and my world collapsed. I lost everything. I had to rediscover my motivation. In the hospital bed, she had asked me not to stop chasing my dreams and doing what I liked the most. When I went up to the podium [at the 2015 World Championships], I felt my mother with me and I sobbed my heart out." (, 09 Mar 2020)

He has done public speaking engagements, and hopes to raise awareness of meningitis and intellectual impairments. "My life experience may give hope to others, so I take every opportunity I have to speak about the importance of vaccination." (, 08 Mar 2019;, 03 Dec 2019)

His parents named him after Russian politician Vladimir Lenin. "I had a bit of a bad time at school because I had two teachers who didn't like me because of the name. I had problems when I was baptised because the priest did not want to baptise me. In the civil registry, they didn't want to register me either. Everything was solved by putting the 'e' at the end of my name." (, 26 Feb 2020)


Unit Date Rank
Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games (Sydney, Australia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T20 Heat 1 4
Men's Long Jump F20 Final Round 5
IPC Athletics World Championships Villeneuve d'Ascq 2002 (Villeneuve d'Ascq, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T20 Heat 1 6
Men's Long Jump F20 Final Round 5
2011 IPC Athletics World Championships (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Long Jump F20 Final 2011-01-26 2
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Long Jump F20 Final Round 2012-09-04 3
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Long Jump T20 Final 1 2013-07-23 3
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Long Jump T20 Final 1 2015-10-24 4
Men's Long Jump T20 WR Attempt 2015-10-24 4
Men's Triple Jump T20 Final 1 2015-10-30 1
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Long Jump T20 Final Round 2016-09-11 6
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Triple Jump T20 Final 1 2017-07-18 2