Cunningham takes field at Paralympic Games
LONDON, England — Jamaica's medal quest in the 14th Paralympic Games will begin this morning just after 10:00 am UK time (4:00 am Jamaica time) when Alphanso Cunningham competes in the final of the Men's F52/53 javelin event at Olympic Stadium here.
With just eight athletes entered, the event will be a straight final and based on his experience and ability to rise to the occasion, the 2004 discus gold medallist at Athens, Greece, is expected to pick up what is expected to be the first of two medals.
Tanto Campbell will compete tomorrow in the Men's F54/55/56 discus, while the other member of Jamaica's three-member team, Sylvia Grant, will contest the javelin on Thursday, the same day Cunningham seeks a second medal in his favoured discus event.
'Nancy', as Cunningham is called by teammates and friends, told the Jamaica Observer on Sunday evening that he was confident of a good start.
"I am going all out," he said after what he termed a "good workout" earlier in the week.
"I have been doing well in training and am now resting up for the competition, so I know I'm ready to go after the world record," he told the Observer.
To get the gold medal, Cunningham will have to beat the current world record-holder and defending champion Jokar Abdolreza of Iran, who enters the competition with a season's best of 21.73 metres — well ahead of Cunningham's personal best 20.19.
Mexico's Maximo de Jesus Mauro, who beat the Jamaican at last year's Para PanAmerican Games, is also in the competition and is a medal prospect — a fact Cunningham is aware of.
"I can't really worry about anyone else except to just do my best and focus on those in my class," he said. In many instances, athletes from different classifications are merged to get full fields for the competition.
He did point out, however, that de Jesus Maura and Abdolreza are the ones standing in his way of the gold medal.
"Max beat me in Mexico last year and the Iranian is the one with the world record... they are good," he said, quickly adding, "I'm feeling great, however, and my practice throws tell me I am where I need to be."