There were two sacrifices that made Cuban sprint star Omara Durand’s third gold at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games extra special.
The first was deciding to run the 400m, her final and least-favourite event of a five-day programme packed with six races.
And the second was leaving daughter Ericka back home in Cuba, knowing the six-year-old is almost as excited as Durand is about Para athletics.
“Now I just want to go home and kiss my daughter,” she said after winning the one-lap race in a Parapan American record of 52.51 seconds.
“She watches everything on TV and I know she’s excited. I can’t wait to see her.”
The world’s fastest female Paralympian dominated all three women’s T12 sprints in Lima, just as she did in Toronto four years ago, and won the 400m by a distance of some 30m before collapsing to the track in exhaustion.
It was not only her third gold of the Lima 2019 Games – having previously won the 100m and 200m T12 – and her 11th Parapan American title over four Games.
“I’m totally exhausted but I’m totally happy,” she said. “I’ve done six races in five days and won three gold medals.
“The 400m is such a sacrifice for me. It takes such a lot of effort but I went for it all. We knew the other competitors were not as strong but we wanted to give everything because we are representing our country.
“To win a third gold in Lima is a real triumph. Now I have done four Parapan Am Games and I have 11 gold medals. I couldn’t be happier.”
“I have loved winning all my medals, but the Parapans are so special for me. I really didn’t expect to win three this time. It’s a dream come true.”
Durand’s three triumphs helped Cuba finish sixth on the final athletics medals table, with Gerdan Fonseca Bernal adding the final flourish to their total tally of eight golds in the men’s javelin F64 on Wednesday.
Fonseca Bernal denied Trinidad & Tobago’s Akeem Stewart a second gold after the latter’s world record-breaking heroics in Tuesday’s discus competition.
To the delight of the crowd, Peru’s Rosbil Guillen won a redemptive gold in the men’s 1,500m T11 following his disqualification after finishing first in Saturday’s 5,000m final.
Guillen ran a lifetime best of four minutes 23.88 seconds to cross the line second, but in a role reversal was upgraded to gold when Ecuador’s Darwin Castro – who had won gold after Guillen's misfortune in the 5,000m – was himself disqualified.
It was Peru's only gold medal of the athletics programme, to go with two silvers and a bronze.
The Brazilian team won eight golds on the final day of action at Estadio Atletico to finish top of the track and field medals table with 33 golds and 82 medals overall.
Brazilian athletes dominated the men’s 100m sprints on the final night, going one-two in the T11 and T47 finals, as well as taking the T12 crown. They added shot put gold in the men's F11 and F55, and were first and second in the men's 200m T37.
The Brazilian women added two further golds to the tally, triumphing in 400m T11 and the javelin F56.
The United States were second in the overall table for athletics with 26 golds.
Jessica Lewis clinched her second gold and third medal of the Games for Bermuda with victory in the women’s T53 100m.
There was more women’s sprint joy for the Caribbean as Trinidad & Tobago’s Nyoshia ‘Hurricane’ Cain-Claxton lived up to her nickname by blowing away the opposition in the 100m T64.
Full results are available on the Lima 2019 website.