Bolt-inspired Oberoi now looks to himself

'I can’t believe it! I was thinking of claiming a medal maybe in Tokyo, not here' 13 Nov 2019
Ranki Oberoi in the air after jumping
ⒸGetty Images
By Rafael Maranhao | IPC

DUBAI: World Champion Ranki Oberoi feels he doesn’t need an idol any more to excel. He is quite inspired by his own exploits.

“[Usain] Bolt inspired me so much that I decided to start in athletics. But now, if someone asks who my idol is, I will say myself,” said the Dutch, after taking the gold in the men’s long jump T20 (7.39m).

It was a gold that Malaysia’s Latif Romly had owned since Doha 2015, until Oberoi’s second jump on Wednesday morning in Dubai.

“It’s the first time that I’m a World Champion and it feels amazing. The first jump was illegal but I thought ‘Ok, I still have the power’ so the second jump was like wow! I was also shocked,” Oberoi revealed.

“I thought that it was just a European record. I still can’t believe it, I think that maybe tomorrow when I’ll wake up I’ll say ‘Oh yes, I did it’,” exclaimed the 26-year-old.

Oberoi took on Para athletics 10 years ago inspired by Jamaica’s Olympic legend Bolt. His initial plan was to fight for a medal at next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo. But the success has come earlier than expected reveals Oberoi.

“I can’t believe it! I was thinking of claiming a medal maybe in Tokyo, not here. I didn’t know anything about athletics before 2009, then I saw Bolt and I said ‘I want to do the same, I want to be like him’.

“He inspired me so much that I decided to start in athletics. In 2014, I switched to the long jump because in the T20s there is no 100m and now I’m a really good long jumper,” he added.

Romly finished second (7.24m) and Ecuador’s Roberto Carlos Charla (6.88m) claimed bronze.

Russia and Brazil smash more world records

With four sessions still to go, Dubai 2019 has already equalled the number of world records from London 2017 (34 to be precise) following another two on Wednesday.

Russia’s Vladimir Sviridov broke the first one in the men’s shot put F32. In fact, Sviridov broke it twice – in his two final attempts (15.68m and 16.32m).

Silver went to Yassine Guenichi (14.74m) of Tunisia and bronze to another Russian, Alan Kokoity (14.73m).

Brazil’s golden run at Dubai 2019 continued with Alessandro da Silva’s victory in the men’s discus throw F11. He beat Italy’s former world record holder and World Champion Oney Tapia to set a new mark (46.10m).

“I got the eye mask as a present from the Italian [Oney Tapia], it is great to receive this recognition. I came here to get my second world title and also got a world record. There is no better gift than this and now, I will prepare hard for my second Paralympic title,” da Silva said.

Tapia (42.50m) finished second and Iraq’s Mahdi Olad (41.18m) third.

First gold for Mexico

Maria de los Angeles Ortiz (10.61) from Mexico put her country on the top of the podium for the first time in Dubai with a victory in the women’s shot put F57.

“We won the gold for Mexico, the country deserves it. I am here representing more than 100 million people and there is a huge responsibility for me. This gold medal is for all the Mexican warrior women,” she said.

Algeria took silver and bronze with Nassima Saidi (10.32) and Safia Djelal (10.10), respectively.

All results, medals and records from the Dubai 2019 World Championships can be found on:

Competition resumes on Wednesday’s evening session and you can follow live on World Para Athletics website, Facebook and Twitter pages.