World Para Swimming Championships
12-18 June 2022

Madeira 2022 marks World Championships debut of Tokyo 2020 champions

Portugal's biggest-ever Para sport event kicks off on Sunday with 502 athletes from 59 countries competing from 12-18 June 11 Jun 2022
A male Para swimmer swimming backstroke in a pool
Brazil's Gabriel Araujo is a two-time Paralympic champion from Tokyo 2020 who will compete in his first World Championships at Madeira 2022
ⒸOIS/Thomas Lovelock
By World Para Swimming

USA’s Anastasia Pagonis, Brazil’s Gabriel Araujo and Spain’s Marta Infante Fernandez are among the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champions making their World Championships debut when Madeira 2022 kicks off on Sunday (12 June) in Funchal, Portugal.

The World Para Swimming Championships will be the biggest international Para sport event to take place in the country with 502 athletes from 59 countries set to compete during seven days (12-18 June) at the Funchal Swimming Pools Complex in Madeira Island.

The competition was initially scheduled to 2021 but moved to this year due to the postponement of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo from 2020 to 2021.

Day one will see 26 new champions crowned in the first edition of the Worlds since London 2019. The pool is a familiar territory to many of the participants as it hosted the 2016 and 2021 European Open Championships.

The World Championships will be streamed live on World Para Swimming Facebook page and on the Paralympic Games YouTube channel, subject to geo-blocking restrictions in some territories.

New era to Brazil

The climate and the language will make Brazilians feel very familiar in Madeira. But this year’s World Championships will look quite different to Team Brazil. 

It will be the first major championships without Daniel Dias, Brazil’s Paralympic legend who retired last year after the Tokyo Paralympics. Now their medal hopes are with a young generation represented by Araujo (S2) and Gabriel Bandeira (S14) who both bagged golds in their Games debut in Japan.

“It is going to be a very different first time,” said Araujo. “I ‘jumped’ the World Championships as I competed first in the Games. It is going to be something new, but maybe not so new as I know my opponents and they know me.” 

USA is another powerhouse sending a very strong team to Madeira after capturing 35 medals at Tokyo 2020.

The team will be missing 29-time Paralympic medallist Jessica Long and five-time medallist Mallory Weggemann, but will have a first-timer who already has a World Championships medal.

Abbas Karimi (S5) competed in Tokyo as part of the Paralympic Refugee Team and has a silver medal from the Mexico City 2017 Worlds to his name. He became a USA citizen this year and won the 50m butterfly at the Indianapolis World Series in Indianapolis to book his ticket in the team travelling to Madeira. 

Women’s 400m freestyle S11 Paralympic champion in her Games debut and social media star Pagonis is another medal hopeful at Team USA at her first World Championships.

Italy to defend first place  

Italy will be defending its first place from the London 2019 Worlds led by Simone Barlaam, the S9 swimmer who picked five gold medals three years ago in the British capital and Giulia Terzi (S7) who bagged three golds at Tokyo 2020.

Great Britain took a 29-strong team to Madeira 2022 boasting all 14 British Para swimming medallists from Tokyo Games. The team also features 10 debutants. 

“I’m really excited to come here for my third World Championships,” said Hannah Russel (S12). “Retaining my Paralympic title in the 100m backstroke in Tokyo was such a special moment, and having that event on day one in Madeira is a brilliant opportunity to see what I can do right from the off.”

Australia, Israel, The Netherlands and Ukraine are the top 10 teams from Tokyo 2020 in action at Madeira 2022.

The Ukrainian delegation will have 23 athletes and among them will be Paralympic champions such as Yevhenii Bohodaiko (S7) and Anna Stetsenko (S13).

Hosts Portugal will have their largest ever delegation at the World Championships with ten athletes. The number one star in the local team is London 2019 medallist Susana Veiga who gave the country its only gold medal in last year’s European Championships.

The women’s 50m freestyle S9 gold medallist will have the first opportunity to compete in front of the Madeira fans as the Euros were held without public because of restrictions caused by the COVID pandemic.

Complete results will be available on the Madeira 2022 microsite.

Pictures for editorial use can be found on Flickr.