In a year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions and regulations, female para-athletes achieved brilliant performances that left the world in awe.
They have won medals, set records, innovated and opened new doors for others to follow, excelling in their respective fields.
Here’s a look at the best female performances in 2021:
Diede de Groot (Wheelchair tennis – Netherlands)
Dutch tennis player Diede de Groot won the Tokyo 2020 women’s singles and doubles titles without losing a set in either competition. She became the first wheelchair tennis player to complete the Golden Slam calendar – winning all four Grand Slam titles and the Paralympic gold medal. De Groot is a 24-time Grand Slam champion, having won 12 major titles in singles and doubles.
Para archer Zahra Nemati won gold in the women’s open recurve, the third consecutive gold medal at the Paralympic Games. The reigning world champion dominated throughout the competition and kept her opponents at bay. The 36-year-old, who was injured in a car crash in 2003 that left her with spinal injuries and paralysis of both legs, was a taekwondo player and switched to archery para in 2009.
Susana Rodriguez (Para Triathlon – Spain)
Susana Rodríguez, who was born with albinism and a severe visual impairment that limits her vision to less than five percent in one eye and eight percent in the other, which is considered legal blindness. The three-time world champion had won every para-triathlon title except the Paralympic Games. Everything changed in Tokyo with his gold medal in the PTVI Triathlon. Rodriguez, who was celebrated for her role as a medic during the pandemic in Spain and appeared on the cover of Time in July, timed 1:07:15 to clinch the title.
Cuban sprinter Omara Durand won her sixth Paralympic title in Tokyo. The Cuban “sprint queen” easily crossed the finish line to retain her title in the women’s T12 400m final with a season record of 52.58 seconds at the Olympic Stadium. The eleventh world champion still hasn’t lost a single race in a major championship – a record dating back to 2011. Although she missed crucial training in the run-up to the Games due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was is the case. not hamper his chances of winning another gold medal.
The newbie had the most matches of any para-badminton competitor at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She has won 11 of her 12 matches and won the most medals. She won two gold medals (SL3-SU3 doubles and SL3-SU5 mixed doubles) and one silver (SL4 singles). The Indonesian star has won three gold medals at the World Championships and the Asian Paralympic Games.
Bebe Vio (Wheelchair fencing, Italy)
Italy’s Bebe Vio made history with the second Paralympic gold medal in wheelchair fencing, retaining her category B foil title against China’s Zhou Jingjing, three-time Paralympic champion. The 24-year-old beat her opponent 15-9 in the final. Despite being hospitalized two months before the Paralympics, Vio, who won three consecutive World Championship titles in 2015, 2017 and 2019, fought with ease on the pitch in Tokyo.
Amalia Perez (Para Powerlifting, Mexico)
The women’s up to 61kg category was one of the most anticipated para-weightlifting events at Tokyo 2020 and Mexican Amalia Perez won her country’s first gold medal in Tokyo in her last attempt at 131kg . For Perez, the podium at Tokyo 2020 was the sixth of his career. Later in the year, at the World Para Weightlifting Championships in Tbilisi, Perez won her fourth World Championship title, bringing her total of major championship crowns to 14 as she triumphed in the women’s up to 61 kg, registering 132 kg with his last lift.
Sarah Storey (Para Cycling, Great Britain)
Sarah Storey won three gold medals in three events in Tokyo, competing in both track and road cycling events. The 43-year-old became Britain’s most decorated Paralympian with 17 gold medals. This is also the fourth Games that she sets a world record to win her fourth Paralympic Games. It was Storey’s 15th Paralympic title, Britain’s first gold at Tokyo 2020 and his third consecutive C5 3000m individual pursuit title.