GOLD Medal dedicated to Grandad

Day-10 (Part-2): Title reclaimed after 9 years by Karolina Kucharczyk (POL)

By Mousumi Mazumdar

The women’s Athletics concluded tonight with F20 Long Jump. The rain from this morning continued its downpour and made athletes uncomfortable on the pit, but they came, jumping out with flying colors.

Two old rivals- Mikela Ristoski from Croatia and Karolina Kucharczyk from Poland came face-to-face again for the third time at a Paralympic Games. The veteran Polish jumper, going on to reclaim her title in Long-jump after 9 years. The Rio gold medalist from Croatia lost her title by just 0.57m and settled for Bronze.

Karoline Kucharczyk today, broke her own Paralympic record twice and set a new record of 6.03m. She has had an emotional journey since Rio 2016, when she won silver, and she made a vow to her grandad to bring home the Gold from Tokyo.

Karolina told Virtus, “I am very happy today because when I won silver in Rio, I was six weeks pregnant and could not stress much.”

“I promised my grandad that I will win Gold in Tokyo, but my granddad died just after my event in Rio, and I couldn’t even attend his funeral. I went to his grave with the silver and promised to turn it into Gold. Over the five years, I have worked very hard to fulfill my promise.”

“I am missing my grandad today but I know he was with me during my event.”

The athlete also mentioned that she missed the crowd. She was a bit disappointed that she did not break her own World record, because of some stress and the wet surface, she had problems and is hopeful that she will break it in Paris 2024.

“Kacper (her son) knows that he was inside me in Rio Paralympics and he feels like he was also a medalist.”

Meanwhile, Russian athlete, Aleksandra Ruchkina won Silver. Even though this is Aleksandra’s first Paralympic Games medal, she was disappointed with her own performance. She covered a distance of 5.59m.

“I wanted to get a better result. Two years ago I was in my form but this time even if I was not stressed or pressured, there was something wrong in the technical side and I could not perform well,” says Aleksandra.

The last event for athletes with Intellectual Impairment will be conducted tomorrow at the Men’s Long Jump Finals. Follow Virtus on socials where you can hear the post-event interviews.

Photo credit: OISPhotos