Paralympics: Kazakh woman sets swimming record

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Zulfiya Gabidullina sets new world record in paralympics swimming
Zulfiya Gabidullina sets new world record in paralympics swimming

A 50-year-old Kazakh woman on Friday won her country’s first-ever medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Zulfiya Gabidullina set a new world record in the 100m freestyle swimming.

China has won most gold medals at the Games so far with seven, followed by the UK with five and Uzbekistan with three.

The Games had a rocky start, with Brazil’s president being booed at the opening ceremony on Wednesday.

A Belarussian official has also been banned for holding a Russian flag, his action being weighed against the background of the fact that Russia has not been allowed to compete.

However fears that budget cuts and low attendances could affect the event have been allayed following a cash injection from the federal government and a last-minute surge in ticket sales.

Gabidullina took nearly a second off the previous world record in the S3 class, for athletes with amputations, no use of their legs or severe coordination difficulties.

She finished in 43.22 seconds.

Previously a wheelchair racer, she only took up swimming in her 30s.

Meanwhile, host nation Brazil has won two gold medals, including Ricardo Costa’s win in the long jump T11 class, for athletes with total blindness.

Costa jumped 6.52m on his last jump, beating Lex Gillette of the U.S. who had jumped 6.44m and had to settle for his fourth straight Paralympic silver medal.

“I like R&B,’’ Gillette said in an interview. “I guess I’m going to be playing the blues for a little bit right now.’’

Costa follows in the footsteps of his sister Silvania Costa, who won gold in the T11 category at the World Championship in Doha in 2015.

She is due to compete in the Paralympics later.

The siblings suffered Stargadt disease, an inherited eye condition that affects part of the retina.

Uzbekistan, currently third in the country ranking, won the first of three gold medals when 29-year-old Khusniddin Norbekov smashed the discus world record in the F37 class.

This event is for athletes with impaired coordination.

Norbekov threw 59.75m, adding 3.94m on to the previous record set by China’s Dong Xia in London in 2012.

World records have also been set in power lifting, where Vietnam’s Van Cong Le lifted 183kg to win the up to 49kg category.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Sarah Storey became the country’s most successful Paralympian by winning her 12th gold medal in cycling.

She caught compatriot Crystal Lane, who took silver, after only 1,375m of the 3,000m individual pursuit final in the C5 class.

The 38-year-old was born without a functioning left hand and competed in track events for able-bodied athletes.

She went on to win two gold medals as a Paralympic swimmer in Barcelona in 1992 and subsequently switching to cycling in 2005.

Andrey Fomachkin, the Belarussian official who carried a Russian flag into the opening ceremony, was banned for violating the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) ban on political gestures.

Russia, which borders Belarus has been blocked from taking part over allegations of state-sponsored doping.

“A hero has appeared amongst us,” said Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, describing the ban on Russian participation as “disgraceful and inhumane’’.

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