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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Martina Caironi of Italy crosses the line to win the Women's 100m T42 Final at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.

Martina Caironi

Athletics
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Caironi is one of Italy’s biggest Paralympic talents, and with two Paralympic, five world and two European titles to her name, it is no big surprise.

At the London 2017 World Championships, Caironi won both the 100m T42 and long jump T42 titles, leaping to a best of 4.72m while in the 100m, she clocked 14.65 - the only athlete to go under 15 seconds.

While she may not have had her great rival Vanessa Low for company – the German-born Para athlete didn’t compete in London – Caironi’s performances were nonetheless impressive after the start of her season was hampered by injury.

Caironi, who lost her left leg above the knee after a motorcycle accident in 2007, won her first major title at the London 2012 Games, where she took gold in the 100m T42.

Long jump and 100m T42 gold followed at the 2013 World Championships, but it was in 2015 that the Italian really set the world alight.

In June that year she lowered her 200m T42 world record three times to 31.73 seconds and bettered her own 100m record. At the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, she broke the 100m T42 world record twice. In the semi-finals she posted 15.01, before a scintillating 14.61 in the final secured her the world title.

She had to settle for world silver in the long jump as Low leapt 4.79m to top the podium, also taking the world record the pair had previously jointly held.

Despite an early season injury, Caironi got herself in shape for the 2016 European Championships on home soil in Grosseto, Italy. She retained her 100m (15.80) crown from Swansea 2014 and took silver in the long jump (4.48m) behind Low.

At Rio 2016 she successfully defended her 100m T42 Paralympic title. In the heats she lowered the Paralympic record to 14.80, before clocking 14.97 in the final. In the long jump she set a personal best of 4.66m for silver as Low claimed gold.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T63, F63

Further personal information

Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish
Higher education
Linguistics - University of Bologna: Italy

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up Para athletics in 2010 in Imola, Italy.
Why this sport?
She noticed a poster promoting Para athletes in an office during her rehabilitation process. "I decided that I wanted to give it a try. Before the accident I played volleyball, but I never imagined that sport would become my life." She discovered that she enjoyed training for the running and jumping events.
Club / Team
Fiamme Gialle: Rome, ITA
Name of coach
Davide Gamberini [personal], ITA

General interest

Nicknames
Marty, Smarty (Instagram profile, 15 Sep 2019)
Hobbies
Snowboarding. (bergamo.corriere.it, 07 Feb 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning medals at the Paralympic Games in 2012 and 2016. (Athlete, 16 Jul 2017)
Hero / Idol
South African politician Nelson Mandela, US musician Jimi Hendrix, Italian sprinter Pietro Mennea. (paralympic.org, 22 Feb 2015)
Injuries
In late 2019 she suffered from an ulcer on the stump of her amputated leg that became infected, preventing her from training for nearly a month. She said that by February 2020 the ulcer had cleared up. (bergamo.corriere.it, 07 Feb 2020)

An ankle problem meant she had to take a break from the long jump after competing at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (ilgiorno.it, 20 May 2013)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Enjoy your efforts, you will be repaid sooner or later." (Athlete, 16 Jul 2017)
Awards and honours
She was Italy's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (iodonna.it, 2016)

She was named the 2015 Paralympic Athlete of the Year at the Gazzetta dello Sport Awards in Milan, Italy. (comitatoparalimpico.it, 18 Dec 2015)

In May 2015 she was named Athlete of the Month by the International Paralympic Committee [IPC]. (insidethegames.biz, 08 Jun 2015)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (ecodibergamo.it, 21 Apr 2017; bergamo.corriere.it, 07 Feb 2020; raiplayradio.it, 10 Feb 2020)
Impairment
In 2007 she was involved in a motorcycle accident that resulted in the amputation of her left leg above the knee. (storiedisport.it, 09 Dec 2012; superabile.it, 16 Aug 2012)
Other information
SANCTION
In early November 2019 she tested positive for the banned steroid Clostebol in an out-of-competition test in Bologna, Italy. She was provisionally suspended and missed the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as a result. She said the banned substance was contained in a cream she used to treat an ulcer on the stump of her amputated leg, which she said she used in small doses before declaring it as a Therapeutic Use Exemption [TUE]. She initially faced a 12-month ban, which would have ended her hopes of competing at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, but Italy's national anti-doping organisation accepted her explanation that use of the cream was for therapeutic purposes and not intended to enhance performance, and handed her a four-month ban ending 09 March 2020. "I was naive, I read the leaflet for the cream and asked a federal doctor, but I should have investigated further, especially the TUE procedure." (apnews.com, 07 Nov 2019; bergamo.corriere.it, 03 Feb 2020; bergamo.corriere.it, 07 Feb 2020; raiplayradio.it, 10 Feb 2020)

IMPACT OF SANCTION
She said the four-month suspension she received in late 2019 significantly impacted her psychological well-being, which was compounded by the ulcer on her stump becoming infected, leaving her unable to train. "I consider myself a balanced person, but at that point I was afraid of hurting myself. I had no way to vent. I'm hyperactive and couldn't run. I felt abandoned, excluded from my world, everything was crumbling. It can drive you crazy. I even thought about changing sports, to snowboarding, which I really like. I vented on my poor husband who was fundamental. If I had been alone, who knows what might have happened. The experience has made me grow up. It helped me, even if it hardened my heart a little. It taught me to be patient. I don't want to forget this episode, but now I am looking forward. The ulcer on my stump is better now, but I have to be careful not to force it while preparing for the Paralympics." (bergamo.corriere.it, 07 Feb 2020)

Results

Unit Date Rank
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump F42/44 Final Round 2012-09-02 13
Women's 100 m T42 Final Round 2012-09-05 1
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump T42 Final 1 2013-07-22 1
Women's 100 m T42 Final 1 2013-07-27 1
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump T42 Final 1 2015-10-22 2
Women's 100 m T42 Heat 1 2015-10-29 1
Women's 100 m T42 Final 1 2015-10-30 1
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump T42 Final Round 2016-09-10 2
Women's 100 m T42 Final Round 2016-09-17 1
Women's 100 m T42 Heat 1 2016-09-17 1
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m T42 Final 1 2017-07-16 1
Women's Long Jump T42 Final 1 2017-07-23 1