Yeltsin Jacques takes first athletics gold

The first of the gold medals to be distributed in athletics at the Tokyo Paralympic Games is from Brazil. With a name that honors a former Soviet leader, Brazilian Yeltsin Jacques, 29, won gold by winning the 5,000m class T11, for the visually impaired with low or no vision.

Running with a strategy of changing guides during the race, the Mato Grosso do Sul native Yeltsin started the race with professional marathon runner Laurindo Nunes and did the second half of the race being guided by the experienced Carlos Antonio dos Santos, Bira. The two guides are now Paralympic champions as well.

After controlling in breath for most of the race, Yeltsin took the lead with 600 meters to go, even losing the lead to the Japanese Kenya Karasawa, but retrieved it at the last corner. At the entrance of the last straight, no one else took the gold from the Brazilian, who won with 15min13s62, new continental record.

“It was a very strategic test. We had already outlined a strategy for the test. As my wife had studied, she gave me the information, and she had said that the Japanese boy would not open on arrival. It was said and done”, he celebrated. Yeltsin, in an interview with SportTV.

Two Japanese completed the podium. Karasawa took the silver (15min18s12) and Shinya Wada the bronze (15min21s03). Besides Yeltsin, Julio Cesar Agripino dos Santos participated in the race, finishing in seventh place, with 16min26s31. This was his best mark of the season.

The two Brazilians still return to the tracks to compete in the 1,500m, in which Julio Cesar is the current world champion. Yeltsin, who was born with low vision, learned about athletics by helping a friend, who is totally blind, run, is also registered to compete in the marathon.