Tunisia is currently ranked number five out of the top 10 teams competing in the Paralympic Games in Rio.
The Tunisian Paralympic team has won a total of 12 medals so far, taking five golds, four silver and three bronze medals. Last year Tunisia bagged 9 gold medals and with four more days to go till the closing ceremony Tunisia is on track to bring home further glory.
Talented Tunisian athlete Nada Bahi took bronze for the 400 meters T37 class (includes coordination disabilities) with a time of 1:03: 71 (minutes, seconds, milliseconds) and Abbes Saidi won a gold medal in the T38 (includes coordination disabilities and cerebral palsy) 1500m race, he covered the distance in 3min 4se 13cent before the Australian Dwin Kinzi (4m: 14s, 95 percent).
Success for Tunisia’s women continued, with Soumaya Bousaid winning the gold in the women’s 1,500 (T12-13), also Hania Aidi and Fadhila Naffati who just clinched the silver and bronze medals for shot-put (F54).
31 years old Walid Ktila set a Paralympic record by winning both the Tunisian 11th Paralympic medal in Rio and the 11th gold medal of his career (the Paralympics and world) during the final of the 100 meter wheelchair (T34 – includes cerebral palsy and brain injuries and stroke affected athletes). Ktila is the 2015 world champion in 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m disciplines and Paralympic champion in 100m and 200m in 2012.
Moreover, Yassine Gharbi came third in the 400 meters T54 (spinal cord injuries) with a timing of 47:07, just behind the Chinese Liu Yang and the Dutch Kenny Van Weeghel, in order to get the bronze medal.
General Secretary of the Tunisian National Paralympic committee, Sonia Bidouh told Tunisia Live of how intensive preparations for the Paralympics had started immediately after the London 2012 Paralympic Games.”The athletes received weekly trainings, the last trainings were held in Morocco, France and Poland.” She continues, “being a disabled athlete is not a hindrance, because sports are a challenge for them and represent a form of socio-economic integration with athletes and people from all over the world.”
According to Bidouh, optimism and positive thought are key elements in achieving Paralympic success, continuing “I hope that the Tunisian athletes will shine in the games and will make us proud of them, and I hope that Tunisia will get more medals in the next few days, ” She added.
Today’s line up (Tunis Time)
15:05: Nada Bahi long jump T37 (finals)
15:17: Sonia Mansour 400m T38 (finals)
21:50: Walid Ktila 800m T34 (finals)
23:15: Yassine Gharbi 800m T54
23:07: Fathi Zouinkhi 800m T54
Zaineb is a journalist in the Tunisia Live newsroom. She speaks Arabic, French and English.