Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Tokyo 2020 Day 7: Ones to Watch

Multi medallist Durand from Cuba, Japanese swimmer Tokairin and American road cyclist Masters are some of the featured athletes 30 Aug 2021
Omara Durand
Cuban Omara Durand defends her gold and is the current record holder in three athletics sprint events
ⒸGetty Images

It's day 7 of the Paralympic Games and there are still many star athletes to perform at Tokyo 2020. In athletics, Cuba's Omara Durand has five Paralympic titles and 11 world titles to her name, besides being the current record holder in the 100m, 200m and 400m T12 events.

One of the local hopes is swimmer Dai Tokairin, who competes in the 200m individual medley S14. He was part of the Japanese team that ended fourth in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay. 

American Oksana Masters is one of the main competitors in road cycling. She missed the road race podium at Rio 2016 but looks determined not to repeat that result in Tokyo, having already taken a pair of silver medals in the time trial H5 at the 2019 Worlds.

Dai Tokairin (JPN) - swimming

Dai Tokairin will carry the hopes of a nation on his Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020. The S14 athlete, who has autism spectrum disorder, started swimming in his native Japan aged 4 and began competing seriously in 2014.  While he agonisingly missed out on qualification for Rio 2016, the Japanese athlete recorded a world record time of 2:08.70sec in the men’s 200m individual medley at the World Para Swimming Championships in London in September 2019. He will hope for a repeat of that incredible performance in Tokyo. 

Oksana Masters (USA) - road cycling

The multi-talented Masters has competed in Winter and Summer Paralympics in cross-country skiing, biathlon, rowing and cycling. She is coming off her first Paralympic golds from PyeongChang 2018, winning the cross-country sprint and middle distance races. So far, the on-snow training seems to pay dividends on the road. She missed the road race podium at Rio 2016 but looks determined not to repeat that result in Tokyo, having already taken a pair of silver medals in the time trial H5 at the 2019 Worlds.

Omara Durand (CUB) - athletics

With five Paralympic and 11 world titles to her name, Durand has dominated the tracks since her international debut over a decade ago. The Cuban currently holds the world records in the 100m (11.40), 200m (23.03) and 400m (51.77) T12, which makes her the world's fastest Paralympian. Her last loss came at the Beijing 2008 Games and is a heavy favourite again to extend her winning streak in Tokyo.

Jaryd Clifford (AUS) - athletics

The Australian made his Paralympic debut at only 17 years old in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, finishing seventh in the 1,500m and 5,000m T13. Five years on, he comes to Tokyo as the man to beat in the middle-distance T13 races after winning gold in both events at Dubai 2019, as well as setting a new world record in the 1,500m. He already won a silver medal in Tokyo, in the men's 1500m T13.

Carol Cooke (AUS) - road cycling

Cooke will turn 60 this year but she is aiming to add a Paralympic medal to the three golds won at London 2012 (mixed time trial) and Rio 2016 (road race and time trial T2). Her journey in Para sports began in 2006 in Para rowing. Cooke narrowly missed out on being part of the Australian team at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. This led to cycling, which saw her go on a winning streak on the road until 2018. She needs to be in top form ahead of Tokyo, where she will face USA’s Jill Walsh, who beat her in both the women’s time trial and road race T2 at the 2019 World Championships.

Lora Fachie (GBR) - track and road cycling

With pilot Corrine Hall, Fachie (formerly Turnham) won gold and broke the world record in the tandem pursuit on the track and bronze in the time trial on the road at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. It was a huge rebound for her after missing out on a medal at her home Games in 2012. The Brit has excelled in both disciplines, winning multiple World Championships medals, five on the track and seven on the road. She won a gold medal in the women's B 3000m individual pursuit track event, and now seeks the same result in the road time trial category B. 

Manish Narwal (IND) - shooting

Part of shooting Para sport’s new generation of young stars, India’s teenage star Narwal (the one in the middle of the picture) announced his arrival by winning gold at the 2018 Asian Para Games in the P1 (men's 10m air pistol SH1); he also captured silver in the P4 (mixed 50m pistol SH1). Since then, Nar-wal has added two World Championship bronze medals and, earlier this year, showed just why he will be tough to beat in Tokyo by setting a world record in the P4 on his way to vic-tory at the Al Ain World Cup. This will be Narwal’s first Paralympic Games and, at just 19 years old, expect to see more of him.

Sareh Javanmardi (IRI) - shooting

Javanmardi picked up bronze at London 2012, but she really burst into the scenes four years later, adding two Paralympic gold medals and three world titles to her collection. Her achievement at the 2018 World Championships, saw her win both P2 (women’s 10 air pistol SH1) and P4 (mixed 50m pistol SH1) events in comeback fashion. However, she did face a setback at the 2019 Worlds, taking runner-up in the P2 and not reaching the podium in the P4. But the Iranian showed she has every intent to hold onto her Paralympic titles in Tokyo. Earlier this year, she set a world record in the P2 to win the event at the Al Ain World Cup.