The Thai contingent at the 2016 Paralympics, which wind up in Rio de Janeiro this morning (Sept 19) (Thai time), has surpassed their four-gold target by raking in six gold, six silver and six bronze medals.
Veteran Prawat Wahoram and debutante Pongsakorn Paeyo claimed two golds each in athletics, while Watcharaphon Vongsa earned himself an individual gold in boccia after helping the Thais capture the team gold.
The latest medal for Thailand came in the 4x400m relay T53/T54 in which Prawat, Pongsakorn, Saichon Konjen and Rawat Tana took the silver, clocking three minutes and 7.73 second.
China won the race in a time of 3:04.58min for the third Games in a row. Canada, led by 100m-T53 gold medallist Brent Lakatos, bagged the bronze.
Thailand won the event in 2004 but have finished second to China in subsequent Games.
Saichon missed a medal in the 100m-T54 final after taking fourth place.
The last two Thais due to be in action last night (Sept 18) were Rawat and Pawat in the men’s marathon-T52/53/54, but they were not considered to among the medal contenders.
“This time, I won two gold and one silver,” said 35-year-old Prawat.
“I have been representing the country for more than 20 years and would like to thank both the government and the private sector for their support.”
Prawat from Sa Kaeo has become the country’s most successful Paralympic athlete. Since his debut Games in Sydney 2000, at the age of 19, he has bagged seven golds, six silvers and one bronze.
Chutinan Bhirombhakdi, president of the Paralympic Committee of Thailand, is now looking forward to the next Games in Tokyo in 2020.
“There is still room for improvement because we are now looking at the 2020 Paralympics,” he said.
“We will focus not only on the sports that we are good in, but also the ones in which we can improve.”
Chutinan hopes to include new faces in the squad for the next year’s Asean Para Games in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, an Iranian Paralympic cyclist died on Saturday (Sept 17) after an accident in the road race on the penultimate day of the Games, officials said.
Bahman Golbarnezhad, 48, fell during the event and died of his injuries despite an attempt to take him to the hospital for treatment.
Golbarnezhad’s accident occurred during the more than two-hour C4-5 road race for athletes with varying disabilities but still able to bicycle.
He was in the first section of a mountainous descent when he fell.
“The athlete received treatment at the scene and was in the process of being taken to the athlete hospital when he suffered a cardiac arrest,” the IPC said in a statement.
“The ambulance then diverted to the nearby Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra where he passed away soon after arrival.”
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