Wendell Belarmino is Paralympic champion in 50 meters freestyle men’s class S11 (for the blind). This Friday, the Brazilian won gold at the Tokyo Games by winning the race with a time of 26s03. The 23-year-old Brasiliense, who is competing in his first Paralympics, was already the distance world champion, in 2019, and now adds another important feat to his curriculum.
The podium also had the Chinese Dongdong Hua, second place with 26s18, and the Lithuanian Edgaras Matakas, who did the third best in the distance, with 26s38. Another Brazilian in the final, Matheus Rheine finished in sixth place, with 27s26.
Belarmino’s gold is Brazil’s second in swimming in Tokyo. On the first day of Paralympics competitions, Gabriel Bandeira became champion with the right to a new Paralympic record in the 100 meter butterfly class S14.
“The idea was to have fun, try to get to the podium and swim as quickly as possible. Fortunately, as soon as possible was the gold medal. In addition to having fun, I’m making three dreams come true at once. Coming to a Paralympics, winning a medal and be champion. I don’t even have words, I’m very happy,” Belarmino told SporTV.
“I took a weight off my shoulders, all the weight I was was gone when I hit the wall. Hear the people from Brazil screaming. They didn’t tell me what position I had reached, but the way people were screaming, I had no doubts that he had won the race,” added the swimmer, who has congenital glaucoma and had to undergo ten corneal transplants.
Wendell Belarmino has been dominant since his first major competition in this class, the Parapan de Lima, in 2019, where he won medals in the six races he competed in. Also two years ago, at the World Championship in the modality, in London, he won the world title in the 50m freestyle. In the same event, he won silver medals in the 100m freestyle and in the 4x100m freestyle relay 49 points.
Before Wendell, Brazil had already won two other medals in swimming in the Paralympics this Friday, the others being Gabriel Bandeira’s silver in the 200m freestyle S14 and Carol Santiago’s bronze in the 100m backstroke S12. In three days of competition in Tokyo, the country’s swimming has accumulated nine medals, two of which are gold, two silver and five bronze.