Superstar of the track takes home fourth Paralympic Gold

Day-10 (Part-1): Barbara Bieganowska- Zajac from wins her 4th Paralympic Gold medal in 1500m

By Mousumi Mazumdar

It was another rainy and damp day at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium and this did not stop the athletes’ splendid performances. Experienced Paralympians returned to the podium which has been dominated by first-timers.

Polish runner, Barbara Bieganowska, at the age of 40 years is one of the most decorated athletes Virtus has seen. This four-time Paralympian, and mother of two daughters, is known as the ‘Golden Basia’, she is the current World and Paralympic Record holder and clocked her season-best (SB) today with 4:27.84sec.

“I had to prepare for five years for this race, I have put in a lot of hard work and I feel very to be able to defend my Gold medal,” said Barbara.

On asking about how she manages between her practice and duties of a mother, she said “I love my daughters very much and they know it. I try to spend as much time with them as I can but recently I was away doing my preparations for the games.”

“They know that mummy is doing what she loves so they are very happy. It is my passion and also my profession because it helps me earn money too. It’s been 26 years that I am running and participating in competitions so they know what I do and support me a lot.”

Rio 2016 Bronze medalist- Liudmyla Danylina, from Ukrain finished second with 4:32.82sec and was very happy with her achievement. “I feel very happy. It is the only emotion I can feel right now. I would like to dedicate this medal to my country-Ukraine and my family” said Liudmyla.

Finishing third was a new face from Great Britain- Hannah Tounton with a timing of 4:35.34sec. “During the race I was really thinking to myself right, I’m going to out at my 1500/200m pace, and then on the last lap I’m going to really storm it,” she said

“That’s what I’ve really been doing cause I’ve been practicing lots of my sharp sprints especially when the bell goes. And that bell actually really helped. It actually did, when I crossed the finish line I was like oh my goodness, I’m going to get a bronze medal.”

“I feel amazing and I can’t wait to show all of my family and all my friends when I go home on Sunday. I’m going to celebrate my big belated 35th birthday which was in May and I’m going to have another party celebrating my track Tokyo celebration.”

In Men’s 1500m, Owen Miller (GBR) ran an unforgettable first Paralympic race as he clinched the Gold by clocking 3:54.57sec.

“It’s my first Paralympic Games and it’s been quite an experience. It was really hard, especially the last 18 months. I was training on the grass when the tracks were closed. My coach and my family helped me a lot during my training. This medal means the world to me,” Owen said.

“To be number 1 in the world is a great feeling, I have never done anything like this in my life so it’s very special.”

2019 World Champion Rabotnitskii Alexandr from Russia and Dieng Ndiaga from Italy, both on debut, won their first Paralympic Games medals as they finish second with 3:55.78sec and third with 3:57.24sec respectively.

“I am very happy, I trained a lot for this competition and expected a lot but not a Bronze medal. My best event is 800m but I feel good in participating in 400m and 1500m too. I will train a lot and prepare for the Paris2024 and Vichy 2023.”

Both Dieng and Barbara shared with Virtus their special message for the young athletes:

“My loved ones – do what you love and never push yourself into doing something you don’t like, but once you find your passion, set your goals and do as much as you can to achieve them.” – Barbara Bieganowsk (UKR), 4th Paralympic Gold Women’s 1500M

“If you want to achieve results, you have to work hard” – Dieng Ndiaga (ITA), first Paralympic Games, Bronze Medallist Men’s 1500M


The F20 Women’s Long Jump will be the closing event for the Day-10 Keep following Virtus for more updates.