Visually Impaired Athlete From Cuba Wants To Compete In The Main Rio Olympics

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A visually impaired Paralympian athlete from Cuba, Omara Durand has declared her intention of competing in the main Olympic Games, which will be hosted in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro this August.

The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, is a major international multi-sport event that will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5 to August 21, 2016. Record numbers of countries, and sets of medals, are waiting in the games. More than 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees are expected to attend the event.

Omara, a disable sprinter from Cuba has seven gold medals to her credit. She won two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympics in London. Even before the London games, she had won two gold medals at the 2011 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Then, at the 2015 Paralympics in Doha, Qatar, she won three gold medals, taking her tally to seven gold medals in her career. Omara competes in the 100, 200 and 400-metre divisions. The Paralympic athletics is a disabled sport practiced by athletes with a physical disability.

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Omara is currently holding the 100-metre world record with a time of 11.65 seconds, making her the fastest female para-athlete of all time. In September 2015, the Rio2016 Planning Committee said Omara is the fastest woman para-athlete ever. She had competed in the preparation games for the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

However, Omara now wants to compete in the able-bodied Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer. She is busy preparing for the competition. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) must now decide if she can run in the games with a guide, because of her disability.

The IOC is yet to give a ruling on whether Omara can compete, or not. But the athlete is in good spirits and believes that if she is given the chance, she can prove that notwithstanding on her condition, she can compete with those in the main games.

Omara is attracting media attention with her new vision and hope. Al Jazeera Plus followed up on her in Cuba, having a brief chat with her. She talks about her dreams, and how she is preparing for the competition if the IOC gives her the green light to participate.

Meanwhile, the 2016 Summer Paralympics will precede the main Olympic Games. The disabled athletes will start their Games on September 7 and close on September 18. If the IOC allows her to compete in the main Games, it is unclear whether she will be eligible to still compete in the Paralympics.

For Omara, this isn’t a problem. Her dreams are big. Her dream is to compete in the main Games, and prove her worth to the rest of the world.

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Nathan Nicholson

I am 23 year old activist from West Virginia.

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