Paralympics: Athlete Gets Surprise Proposal After Race


Visually impaired sprinter Keula Nidreia Pereira Semedo got engaged to her guide Manuel Antonio Vaz da Veiga shortly after competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The pair ran in the T11 200m qualifying heats, placing fourth and failing to book a place in the semi-finals.

Pereira Semedo’s disappointment soon turned to joy, however, shortly after she crossed the finish line, Vaz de Veiga got down on one knee and proposed to her. To the delight of their fellow athletes, Pereira Semedo accepted the proposal.

“I really have no words. There are so many emotions all together. Just the fact of being here at the Paralympic Games, I hardly felt my legs actually because I was so nervous,” Pereira Semedo said.

“Now, with the proposal, there are just too many emotions going on right now. I don’t have words to explain how I feel at this moment. I always had the dream of getting married but we hadn’t planned anything so far. We haven’t spoken about it and I wasn’t expecting it at all.

Pereira Semedo took up Para-athletics aged 15 and represented Cape Verde for the first time in 2005. The 32-year-old was competing at her first Paralympic Games, finishing fourth in the heats of the T11 100m and 200m. She revealed she is aiming to compete at Paris 2024 with her husband as her guide.

Tokyo bid a colourful farewell to the Paralympics on Sunday after 12 days of stereotype-defying, record-shattering performances despite a year-long pandemic delay.

International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons declared the Games closed on a cool night in the Olympic Stadium, saying they had “not just been historic, they’ve been fantastic”.

It was a game like no other, postponed a year because of the pandemic and dogged by difficulties and low public support in the build-up.

But the action did not disappoint when it got underway, with a record 86 teams winning medals and 62 claiming at least one gold.

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