Brazil became, this Tuesday (31) from Japan, Monday at Brasília time (30), the 23rd country to overcome the barrier of 100 gold medals in the Paralympic Games. The feat came through long-distance runner Yeltsin Jacques, who won the 1500m T11 title in athletics, his second achievement in Tokyo.
Carrying out the fourth consecutive edition among the top 10 in the medals table, the country changed its level in the Paralympic movement after obtaining the guarantee of continuous state funding, provided for in the 2001 Law Agnelo/Piva, of Lotteries, and is now reaping the fruits, growing at a fast pace in the historical ranking of medals.
If until then Brazil had won 23 gold medals between 1972, in Germany, in its first participation, and the Sydney-2000 Games, when it rose to the highest place on the podium six times, already in the first edition with permanent public funding for Paralympic sport the country reached 14 gold medals in Athens-2004. Then there were 16 in Beijing, 21 in London, in the best campaign in history, and 14 in Rio.
In Tokyo, with even more than half of the competitions to go, there are already 13 gold medals, which indicates that a new record can be set. And this possible achievement comes after another new milestone in relation to public financing of the Paralympic movement. If until 2015 the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB) received 15% of a 2% share of the collected by the Lotteries, since then the calculation is 37.04% of 2.7% of the collected.
In total numbers, this means that the CPB, which until 2015 had less than R$ 40 million per year by Lei Piva, now has more than R$ 120 million. Last year alone, it totaled R$163 million, according to a survey by the Chamber of Deputies’ Sports Committee.
With more resources to identify Paralympic athletes and train them, Brazil became less dependent on super athletes such as Daniel Dias (14 gold), André Brasil (seven) and Clodoaldo Silva (seven), who were present in at least one of each four achievements of the country in the history of the Paralympic Games. And, in Tokyo, it has been showing a greater range of gold options.
So far, 12 different athletes have won gold medals, against eight in Rio-2016 (plus a bocce team, the 5-a-side football team and an athletics relay), eleven in London and six in Beijing (in both editions Brazil too won a gold in doubles in bocce and another in soccer of 5). In Japan, only Yeltsin, curiously responsible for the 100th gold, won more than one.
And that’s even without the three stars of the Brazilian Paralympic sport. Clodoaldo retired, André Brasil was reclassified and made ineligible and Daniel Dias ended up being overtaken by reclassified athletes, even though he has already won three bronze medals. He retires after this Paralympics.
Individually, Luiz Cláudio Pereira, who won six medals between 1984 and 1992 in athletic field events, follows the list, Ádria Santos, blind sprinter who shone between 1996 and 2004 with four gold medals, Dirceu Pinto, bocce player who died this year a past of heart problems and who also had four diamonds, and the former soccer player with 5 Marquinhos. Lucas Prado (athletics), Terezinha Guilhermina (athletics) and four other players — Fábio Vasconcelos, Damião Robson, Jefinho and Ricardinho — have three diamonds each.
Of the great champions in history, only the last three, Lucas, Daniel and Antônio Tenório, are still active. The judoka, aged 50, lost two fights and finished fifth in Tokyo, but promises to continue in the sport to fight in Paris. Without him on the podium, Brazil met its second Paralympic champion judoka in Japan: Alana Maldonado, first woman.
Athletics, with 48 gold medals, tops the list of sports that contributed the most to the list of 100 titles, but swimming, with 36, appears right behind. Until Tokyo, Brazil had only won gold in four other sports: bocce (six), judo (four, always with Tenório), soccer 5 (four) and chain-wheel fencing (one). In the current edition, the list grew with weightlifting, thanks to Mariana D’Andrea’s gold.
In the all-time medals table, Brazil is currently in 22nd place, having surpassed Russia this year (which only participated in five editions and has its athletes disputing Tokyo-2020 for a neutral team) and now Mexico, which also it reached its 100th gold yesterday and has fewer silver medals. Next in line are Denmark (with 101, it can still be surpassed today), Austria and Norway, European countries that lost strength after 1992.
That edition, in Barcelona, served as a milestone for the Paralympic movement, with the stimulus for the creation of national committees. Until then, the countries were represented by teams sent by various associations for specific disabilities: the blind (ABDC), wheelchair users ABRADECAR, of the mentally handicapped (today called intellectually handicapped), of amputees…
That is how, in 1995, these associations created the CPB, which had its first headquarters in Niterói, then in Brasília, and now operates in a modern structure in São Paulo, built as a legacy of Rio-2016. The entity also serves as a national confederation in sports such as weight lifting, swimming and athletics.
CBDV, for the visually impaired, takes care of modalities such as goalball and 5-a-side football. The CBVD, of seated volleyball. ANDE, from the boules. ABRC in wheelchair rugby, CBBC in wheelchair basketball. In other sports, such as rowing, tennis, table tennis, taekwondo, canoeing, cycling, horseback riding and archery, the confederations are the same as in the Olympic sport.