Historic Parapan Am title for record-breaking T&T thrower
Akeem Stewart wrote his name into the history books in Toronto, Canada, yesterday, becoming Trinidad and Tobago's first-ever Parapan American Games champion. And the 23-year-old did it in style, producing a massive 63.03 metres throw to strike gold in the men's discus F44 event.
Stewart's winning throw is a new Parapan Am Games record. In the opening round of the competition, he landed the 1.5-kilogramme implement 60.36m to improve on the 45.77m standard established by Cuba's Gerdan Fonseca back in 2007. After fouling his next three attempts, and passing in round five, the Tobago field athlete produced the 63.03m monster throw in the sixth and final round to re-set the Games record.
Stewart missed out on the F44 world record by just 43 centimetres, American Jeremy Campbell's 63.46m mark barely surviving the “Akeem Onslaught”. Stewart, though, had the satisfaction of whipping Campbell, the three-time Paralympic gold medallist settling for silver yesterday with a 57.32m throw. Another American, David Blair secured bronze with a 56.83m effort.
Stewart was actually listed as an F43 athlete on the Parapan Am Games website, and his winning throw was announced as a new F43 world record. However, both T&T Paralympic Committee (TTPC) president Ken McKell and treasurer Sudhir Ramessar confirmed that Stewart is F44, the classification for athletes with “single below knee amputation or those that can walk with moderately reduced function in one or both legs”.
This evening, Stewart competes in the men's javelin F44. Also in action for T&T will be swimmer Shanntol Ince in the women's 100m Freestyle S9.
On Wednesday, Carlos Greene fell just short of the podium. The visually impaired T&T athlete threw the iron ball 10.58m to finish fourth in the men's shot put F11/12 event.
The bronze medallist, Venezuela's Anibal Bello produced a 10.68m effort for a 10-centimetre cushion on Greene. Brazilian Alessandro Da Silva grabbed gold with a 12.54m throw, with silver going to Colombia's Edwin Rodriguez Gonzalez (12.26m).