Antonella Ruiz Díaz, the fitness teacher who was a base in basketball and is now a Paralympic medalist

Gustavo Briozzo realized right away that that girl who was biting the ball of basketball it was a diamond in the rough. He played grassroots while studying Physical Education teachers in Gualeguay, 80 kilometers from his native Gualeguaychú. But he saw him pasta for another sport. He recorded it and sent the video to Javier Álvarez, historical coach of the Paralympic national team. Athletics. Bingo. He contacted her, explained that she could compete in adapted sport because of her short stature and from then on she was all progress. And on the morning of Friday August 27 in Tokyo, when it was the night of Thursday 26 in Argentina, Antonella Ruiz Diaz became the first national medalist at the 2020 Paralympic Games.

Better impossible for the 24-year-old from Entre Ríos: on her debut in this sporting event, achieved the best mark of his career (9.50 meters) in shot put and came third in a competition in which the Tunisian Raoua Tlili won with a world record of 10.55, followed by the Colombian Mayerli Buitrago Ariza, silver with a South American record of 9.94.

“I am very excited, trying to fall into the moment that I am living. I am proud that in my first Games I improved my mark and I got on the podium. It was the goal, what he wanted to accomplish. I left everything. It was a lot of emotion together and all the work we did went through my head, ”said Ruiz Díaz from Tokyo, in the live broadcast of DeporTV.

She was already in the Paralympic Village, where she had been received with applause when she returned with the medal to the building that houses the Argentines.

If we talk about work, sacrifice and effort when it comes to mentioning what Argentine athletes invest, not to mention what Antonella did.

He has not competed for two years since the 2019 Dubai World Cup, where he was Runner-up in bullet and ninth in discus. Months before it had been gold in disc and silver in bullet at the Parapan American Games in Lima. He came to live in Buenos Aires in the middle of the pandemic. And two weeks before traveling to Japan, changed your biological time zone to adapt to Tokyo: I slept during the day and was awake at night.

“When I saw his coordination capacity, I thought that he could compete in the bullet, since I saw a future for him. In 2017 she made her first tournament and then she gave everything, since they classified her in the F41 category (short size). In the CAIXA tournament in Brazil, Lima was classified ”, said Álvarez, coach of Sebastián Baldassarri and Mariela Almada.

“When I went to Brazil I won my first medal and I realized that I wanted to continue with this. Every time I put more attitude and train to give my best and improve myself. It is something that I never expected in my life and even less doing athletics ”, Antonella was moved to tears in front of the computer.

Ruiz Díaz, on the right, with the other members of the podium. AP Photo

The cell phone “exploded” with messages from those closest to him. The sport gave him friends everywhere. And she sought them out, of course, because in addition to basketball, she did volleyball, handball, tennis, field hockey and soccer. “Sport is in my blood. In elementary and high school, I would always score on everything. It was the first to do any discipline, “said the teacher of fitness.

Ruiz Díaz was one of the athletes who was presumed to be able to provide a medal for the Argentine delegation, although the goal was not easy. Besides the fact that she had a mark very similar to the one she achieved (9.49), in addition to those who accompanied her on the podium, there was also the one who would finish in fifth place, the Moroccan Youssra Karim, who had better marks than Antonella.

But the entrerriana went to the Olympic Stadium determined to get what she was looking for. She started with a pitch of 9.11 and another of 9.35, which temporarily left her third. And after one of 8.84 came the 9.50 meters. The fifth pitch of 8.97 left her waiting for what those who came under her would do. And when the bronze winner was known, she finished with 9.26 in the final attempt.

They are those talents that come out every so often and you have to accompany them. Also a great person. All of this is the product of their effort ”, Coach Álvarez defines her.

The bronze medalist has not yet said goodbye to Tokyo. Antonella Ruiz Díaz will be at the disco final on Tuesday night in Argentina, Wednesday morning in Japan. “I want to exceed my mark, but the truth is that I am happy and can no longer ask for anything more,” he fully confessed.

More positive results

Iñaki Basiloff could not get on the podium by just 4 hundredths. In the final of the 200 medley, the swimmer was fourth with a time of 2m31s62, while Pipo Charlemagne was in eighth place.

Another winner of a Paralympic diploma was Marilú Fernández, who finished fifth in the club throw with 19.71 meters and was close to the podium.

Brian Impellizzeri, who is aiming for the long jump, participated in the 100 meters and registered his best time of the season: 12s56. But he was sixth in his series and failed to qualify for the final.

The swimmer Analuz Pellitero placed seventh in the final of the 100 backstroke with a time of 1m17s78 and added a new diploma for the national team. In addition, Nadia Báez was sixth in her free run of 50, with 34s11, and finished 12th overall.

In rowing, Brenda Sardón finished fourth in her series and will compete in the single scull repechage.


Mariela Delgado competes in track and road cycling. AP Photo

Rodrigo López, from Entre Ríos, in track cycling, set a time of 1m22s594, which left him in 18th place in the 1,000 meters. Missionary Mariela Delgado competed in the 500-meter time trial, scoring 38s892 and finishing ninth.

In table tennis, Constanza Garrone, with a guaranteed Paralympic diploma, lost in the quarterfinals to China’s Liu Jing 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-1). Fernando Eberhardt fell to the Italian Falco 3-2 (8-11,12-10,10-12,13-11 and 6-11) and was eliminated. And Gabriel Copola lost 3-0 (11-8, 11-7 and 14-12) to Thai Yuttajak Glinbancheun in the round of 16 and matched his performance from Rio 2016.

Judoka Eduardo Gauto fell by ippon to local Yujiro Seto and said goodbye to the Paralympic Games. And in Ezequiel Casco he beat Martyn Dunn by a double 6-0, while Agustín Ledesma could not with the Spanish Martín de la Puente by a double 6-1.

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