Cuba’s seven athletes to look out for at Rio 2016

Paralympic athletics champions Durand and Castillo, and London 2012 judo gold medallists Hierrezuelo and Rodriguez are set to shine at September’s Paralympics. 08 Jul 2016
Omara Durand of Cuba

Omara Durand of Cuba celebrates winning the women's 200m T12 final during the Evening Session at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

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Paralympic and world athletics champions Omara Durand and Yunidis Castillo, and London 2012 judo gold medallists Jorge Hierrezuelo and Dalidaivis Rodriguez Clark headline the strong Cuban delegation at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Athletics – Leinier Savon Pineda

The 27-year-old sprinted to double gold twice in the men’s 100m and 200m T12 last year, first at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and then at the World Championships, in Doha, Qatar. Savon Pineda will attempt to add more golds to his haul in Rio, where he is also hoping to top the podium in the long jump T12.

Athletics – Leonardo Diaz

Diaz, who won Paralympic golds in the men’s discus throw F56 at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, is the reigning World and Parapan American champion. But the Cuban will still have to be at his best to continue his run in Rio. Iran’s Ali Mohammadyari, who holds the world record of 45.49, will be a major threat.

Athletics – Omara Durand

The fastest female Paralympian on the planet is the overwhelming favourite to win the women’s 100m, 200m and 400m T12. Durand took a three-year sabbatical from the track after giving birth to her daughter Erika and had a successful comeback in 2015, completing a clean sweep at Toronto 2015 and Doha 2015.

Athletics – Yunidis Castillo

The most decorated Cuban Paralympic athlete of all-time expects to increase her medal tally when she hits the track this September. After giving birth to her son Gabriel, she returned to action to win two Parapan American titles, and one gold and two silvers at the World Championships. The 29-year-old wants to compete in the women’s long jump T45/46/47 in Rio and outdo her performance from London 2012, where she claimed three Paralympic titles.

Judo – Dalidaivis Rodriguez Clark

Rodriguez Clark defeated China’s Tong Zhou with an ippon in the women’s -63kg final to claim gold at London 2012 and is now hoping to repeat such success in Rio. The Cuban, who lost to Ukraine’s world No.1 Iryna Husieva at the 2014 World Championships, said that winning gold “depends on me, on how well prepared I am when the Paralympics draw near.”

Judo – Jorge Hierrezuelo Marcillis

Cuba will seek gold from Hierrezuelo Marcillos in the men’s 90kg at Rio 2016. The 33-year-old, who won the Paralympic title four years ago, shares a highly competitive category with the USA’s world champion Dartanyon Crockett, Argentina’s two-time Paralympic bronze medallist Jorge Lencina and Great Britain’s multi-Paralympic medallist Samuel Ingram.

Swimming – Lorenzo Perez Escalona

The double Parapan American champion aims to win Cuba’s first Paralympic gold medal in history, after claiming silver in the 50m freestyle S6 and bronze in the 100m freestyle S6 at London 2012. “I have been preparing for Rio 2016 for a long time. I feel confident that the story will be different this time than in London and I will win the gold medal,” he said.


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.

Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.