"It’s amazing. We have amazing support from the Toronto fans, amazing support from everyone who came to watch. It was just a wonderful atmosphere to be in."
Cuba’s Omara Durand underlined her position as the world’s fastest female para-athlete on Thursday (13 August) by smashing the 200m T12 world record at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, one of the three to fall on the fourth day of track and field.
Days after smashing the 100m record, the 23-year-old ran 23.87 into a 0.4m/s headwind in the 200m T12 heats to take 0.59 seconds off the previous best set by France’s Assia El Hannouni at London 2012. She is now an overwhelming favourite to land her third sprint title of the Games after already securing the 100m and 400m titles.
In the field, Trinidad and Tobago’s Akeem Stewart threw 63.03m to smash the near 27-year-old F43 discus record and win his country’s first ever Parapan American Games gold medal. The 23-year-old led home a quality field that included the USA’s world and Paralympic F44 champion Jeremy Campbell (57.32m) in silver. Bronze went to Campbell’s teammate David Blair (56.83m).
The men’s high jump F42/44 also saw the world record fall. The USA’s Dion Townsend-Roberts bettered his previous best twice, first jumping 2.09m to add 2cm to his own world record before finishing on 2.12m to take the gold.
"It’s amazing. We have amazing support from the Toronto fans, amazing support from everyone who came to watch. It was just a wonderful atmosphere to be in," said Townsend-Roberts, who failed three attempts to extend his world record to 2.15m.
In addition to three world records, three Americas records were also broken in the field on Thursday, including two by Brazilians.
Thiago Paulino Dos Sanos (13.57m) was the first to do so on his way to gold in the men’s shot put F57 and was soon followed by his teammate Joao Teixeira de Souza (12.83m) in the men’s shot put F37. Mexico’s Rebeca Valenzuela (12.71m) set a regional record in the women’s shot put F11/12.
Jamaica’s Tanto Campbell (29.81m) won his country’s second gold of the Games with victory in the men’s javelin F56, whilst Mexico’s Veronica Saucedo (19.93m) set a personal best to top the podium in the women’s discus F56/57.
Brazil’s Claudiney Batista Dos Santos has a busy day. Just hours after winning shot put F57 bronze, he won gold in the javelin F34/57 with a throw of 39.86m.
Jessica Lewis (17.67) made history on the track as she who won Bermuda’s first ever Parapan gold in the 100m T53. The Canadian duo of Ilana Dupont (18.63) and Jessica Frotten (19.25) took silver and bronze respectively.
"I am completely happy, I have been working hard on this race and happy to come back with the gold,” said Lewis afterwards.
Canada claimed gold in the first and last races of the day, both of which were rerun races.
In the 800m T53, Brent Lakatos (1:43.90) won his second title of Toronto 2015 with a Games record. Colombia’s Edisson Andres Martinez Sarmiento (1:45.68) took silver with Venezuela’s Jesus Aguilar (1:46.44) the bronze.
The men’s 800m T54 which originally had been the second race of the day also had to be rerun following a spectacular pile-up which saw five athletes crash out.
Alex Dupont (1:40.67) led home a Canadian one-two which saw Josh Cassidy (1:41.18) take silver. Venezuela’s Juan Valladares (1:41.48) took the bronze.
After winning four gold medals at Guadalajara 2011, the USA’s Chelsea McClammer (1:58.40) won her first title of Toronto 2015 after breaking the Games record in the 800m T53. She was never troubled as she eased home ahead of teammate Shirley Riley (2:01.97) and Canada’s Ilana Dupont (2:08.67).
Brazil’s Veronica Hipolito, Colombia’s Juan Moreno Marquez, Cuba’s Yunidis Castillo and the USA’s David Brown all won their 200m races to complete the sprint double in Toronto, following 100m wins earlier this week.
There was a Brazilian one-two in the women’s 200m T38 with world champion Hipolito (28.60) breaking the Games record ahead of teammate Jenifer Martins Dos Santos (30.34). Bronze went to Mexico’s Lucia Muro (31.64).
Marquez (25.80) broke the Games record in the men’s 200m T36 to claim his second gold of the week. Argentina’s Enrique Rotondo (26.99) and Nicaragua’s Gabriel De Jesus Cuadra Holmann (27.43) made up the podium.
Castillo (26.13) sealed her sprint double in the women’s 200m T47. The Brazilian duo of Terezinha de Jesus Correia (26.83) and Sheila Finder (27.19) took silver and bronze.
Brown (22.74) held off a Brazilian charge to win gold in the 200m T11 in a Games record. Felipe De Souza Gomes (22.92) took the silver ahead of teammate Daniel Mendes Da Silva (23:00).
"With co-operative victory,” said Brown. “I came out on top. I was hoping that the world record would be there, but that wind was telling me no, but it's good enough to get gold."
The men’s 200m T52 was won by the USA’s Gianfranco Iannota (33.40) in a close race that saw Mexico’s Salvador Hernandez (33.73) win silver and Colombia’s Cristian Torres (33.82) the bronze.
Colombia’s Maritza Arango Buitrago (5:02.82) took nearly three seconds off the women’s 1,500m T11 Americas record as she comfortably won gold. Brazil’s Renata Bazone Teixeira (5:08.39) took the second spot on the podium with Mexico’s Monica Rodriguez (5:12.27) third.
Over the same distance in the women’s T12 class, Chile’s Margarita Faundez Orellana (4:55.29) claimed gold in a Games record, whilst behind her there was a superb scrap for silver between Colombia’s Marcela Gonzalez Arias (4:59.06) and Venezuela’s Isabel Osorio (5:00.30).
Five-time world champion Raymond Martin (57.72) set a Games record to add the 400m T52 crown to the 100m T52 title he won earlier in the week. Well behind him winning silver for Colombia was Cristian Torres (1:02.84) whilst Mexico’s Salvador Hernandez (1:03.18) added the bronze.
Athletics at Toronto 2015 will conclude on Friday.