The Tokyo Paralympics are just beginning, but Daniel Dias, who is going to retire after the event, can already put on his résumé that has climbed to the podium in four consecutive editions of the Games. This Wednesday (25th) in Tokyo, the Brazilian swimmer won the bronze medal in the 200m of the S5 class, intermediate between the 10 for the disabled. He had been three-time champion of this race in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Daniel, who is already the greatest Paralympic swimmer in history, is looking in Tokyo to increase his collection of achievements, taking on athletes who until recently competed in classes for athletes with greater functionality. It is the case of the Italian Francesco Bocciardo, who was already Olympic champion in the S6 class and who was relegated to a class in which athletes have greater functional difficulty and, therefore, are slower.
These rivals’ reclassifications, which caused great controversy in the Paralympic movement, caused Daniel Dias to have several world records broken. Still, however, he remains among the best in the world. And he proved it, coming third in the 200m freestyle today, behind Bocciardo, who broke the Paralympic record with 2:26:76, and Spanish Antoni Ponce Bertran, with a time of 2min35s20. The eight-second gap between first and second place shows how contestable Bocciardo’s reclassification was.
Daniel Dias came in third, with 2:38s61, reaching what is only his fourth bronze medal in Paralympics, the second in individual events. In total there are already 25 career medals, 14 of which are gold. The greatest Brazilian Paralympic swimmer must compete in at least four more individual events in the Palightning bolts Tokyo and relays.
Shortly before, in the men’s final of the 100m butterfly class S13, Douglas Matera was seventh, with a time of 58s53. In the women’s final of the same race and class, Carol Santiago finished sixth, with 1min07s11.