- Rafael Barifouse
- From BBC News Brasil in São Paulo
The Tokyo Paralympics starts on Tuesday (24/8). The opening ceremony will be held at 8:00 am (Brasilia time), at the National Stadium.
Expectations are high after the success of Brazilian athletes at the Olympics, with the right to a new medal record.
But the situation is a little different in the Paralympics, in which the country is already considered a sports power.
Since Beijing 2008, Brazil has remained in the top 10 in the final medals table and, at Rio 2016, it broke its record, with 72 medals.
In addition to remaining among the top 10 places in the overall table, the goal in Japan is also to win the 100th gold medal in the history of the Brazilian team’s participation.
“We also hope to surpass the medals we got in Rio de Janeiro”, says Alberto Martins, technical director of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee and head of mission at the Tokyo Games.
As at the Tokyo Olympics, the Brazilian delegation will be the largest ever sent abroad by the country.
Brazil will compete in 21 of the 23 modalities of the Games, including the two that will make their debut in Tokyo, badminton and taewkwondo.
Check out the Paralympics schedule and what to expect from the Brazilian participation.
When will the competitions be?
The opening ceremony marks the official start of the Games, but the competition does not start until the following day, with disputes in eight disciplines.
There will be 13 days of event, until September 5th, when the closing ceremony will be.
Each modality will start to be played on the following dates:
- track cycling
- Wheelchair basketball
- Wheelchair Fencing
- Wheelchair Rugby
- Table tennis
- Wheelchair Tennis
- sitting volleyball
- 5-a-side football
- Shooting Sports
What sports will Brazil participate in?
The Brazilian delegation will have representatives in 21 of the 23 modalities of the Games, including badminton and taewkwondo, which will be played for the first time in Paralympics.
“We have a chance to compete for medals in both”, says Martins.
The exceptions are wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
The Brazilian teams did poorly in qualifying tournaments and didn’t get a spot for Tokyo.
How will the Brazilian delegation be?
The Brazilian delegation will be the largest ever sent to a Paralympics abroad.
There will be 260 athletes, well above the 178 who went to London 2012 and not far from participating at home in Rio 2016, when Brazil had guaranteed places in all sports as it was the host country and had 286 athletes in the Games.
Of the total, 164 are men and 96 are women — this represents a female participation of 40% of the total, slightly above the target of 38%, according to the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB).
The delegation will have 234 athletes with disabilities. The rest are non-disabled athletes who work in some sports, such as guides (running), runners (bocce), callers and goalkeepers (soccer) and helmsmen (rowing).
Of these 234 athletes, 87 of them, or 37%, will compete in their first Paralympics.
“We also have a greater participation of young people, and this renewal is extremely important because we are already thinking about Paris 2024 in Los Angeles 2028”, says Martins.
Who can shine in Tokyo
The 26-year-old judoka reaches her second Paralympics as the world champion in her category. At Rio 2016, she was silver.
He is the greatest Olympic champion in Brazil, with 24 medals (14 of them gold).
Despite this track record, his performance is still uncertain as he underwent a reclassification that put him swimming with athletes with less restrictive disabilities.
At 33, Daniel has already announced that these will be his last Games.
Débora Menezes | Taekwondo
The 30-year-old athlete is number two in the world ranking in her category and the current world champion. At the Parapan-American in Lima, in 2019, he won silver.
This will be his first Paralympics, which marks the debut of taekwondo at the Games.
She was chosen as Brazil’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony, alongside Petrúcio Ferreira.
Evelyn was gold at Rio 2016 in bocce in mixed doubles along with Antonio Leme and Evani da Silva and, at 44, is trying to win the second title in her second Paralympics.
Gabriel Bandeira | Swimming
The 21-year-old arrives in Tokyo rocked by his excellent performance at the European Open in May, when he won six gold medals and set a continental record. He will compete in six races
Lethicia Lacerda | Table tennis
At the age of 18, Lethicia won two bronze medals at the Parapan American Games in Lima, in 2019, and is going to her first participation in the Paralympics. It is fifth in the world ranking for its category.
Maria Carolina Gomes Santiago | Swimming
The 36-year-old athlete returned with four medals from the last Worlds in London, UK, in 2019. She was silver in the 100 meters backstroke and in the relay and gold in the 50 meters and 100 meters freestyle.
The most experienced Brazilian bocce athlete has played since he was 11 years old. At 36, he goes to Tokyo as the current Olympic champion, after winning the individual event in his category at Rio 2016.
Petrucio Ferreira | Athletics
Flag bearer together with Evelyn Oliveira, the sprinter holds the world record in his 100-meter dash category, which he won at Rio 2016.
In those games, Petrucio was also gold in the 400 meter dash and silver in the relay.
Brazilian team | 5-a-side football
Since the sport debuted at the Paralympics, in Athens 2004, only Brazil has won gold. The Brazilian team is also five-time world champion — the last title was in 2018 — and leads the world ranking.
Brazil, a sports power
Brazil arrives in Tokyo at its best stage in history in the Paralympics.
Since the early 2000s, the country has been improving its performance every year and, since the 2008 Games, it has been among the top ten countries in medals.
This is a direct result of the number of golds that were won in each edition, as this is the main criterion for determining the order of the big picture.
In London 2012, the Brazilian delegation returned with a record of 21 gold and 7th place. Four years later, Brazil won “only” 14 golds at Rio 2016 and dropped to 8th.
But you can’t complain because the country won a total of 72 medals — thanks to 29 silvers and 29 bronzes — and far surpassed its previous record (47 in Beijing).
The goal in Tokyo is to remain at the top of the rankings, among the top ten.
Brazil won its first medal in Paralympics in 1976, with a silver in bocce on grass.
Since then, there have been 301 medals: 87 gold, 112 silver and 102 bronze.
Brazil is the 19th country in the number of medals in the history of the Paralympics.
The Brazilian delegation is going to try to return from Japan with the hundredth gold in the Games.
Brazilian athletes have won at least 14 medals since Athens 2004.
What explains Brazil’s success in the Paralympics?
The growing Brazilian performance since the beginning of the 2000s is the result of an also growing organization, incentive and investment in parasports modalities.
The Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB) was created in 1995. The following year, in Atlanta 1996, the country ranked 37th, its second worst position in the Paralympic Games — just above 42nd place in Arnhem 1980.
The fruits only started to come from Sydney 2000, when the country equaled its previous best position, a 24th place.
The following year, another important measure was enacted: with the Angelo/Piva law, 2.7% of the Caixa Econômica Federal lottery revenue was allocated to the Olympic and Paralympic committees, at a proportion of 63% and 37% for each.
This is where most of the money used by the CPB to train athletes and others in projects and events that promote Paralympic sport comes from.
“In 2017, we prepared a strategic plan for two cycles whose main theme is children and teenagers, so that they start in the sport as soon as possible”, says Martins.
Athletes also have a grant from the federal government. More than 95% of the members of the delegation who have a disability receive the benefit, which ranges from R$370 to R$15,000 per month.
At Rio 2016, according to the federal government, all Brazilians who won a medal were part of the Bolsa Atleta.
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