Miyuki Yamada broke Japan’s record as the youngest ever Paralympic medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Making a splash: Yamada is the youngest athlete on Japan’s Paralympic team, at 14 years old, and won Japan its first medal of the competition this year, reported Time Out Tokyo.
- The young swimmer won silver with a time of 2:26:18 in the S2 class of the women’s 100-meter backstroke, finishing 9.57 seconds behind Singapore’s swimmer Yip Pin Xiu.
- She broke the Japan’s record as their youngest Paralympic medalist. The previous record was held by Yoshinori Shimazu, who received a bronze medal at the 1984 Games, noted Japan Times.
- “I was third overall in the qualifiers and I didn’t think I could get silver so I’m very happy,” Yamada said.
- Yamada revealed she is “so surprised” by the win and did not realize she broke the record, until it was addressed in one of her post-race interviews.
“Having fun”: She stated that she was nervous during the qualifying rounds so she “decided to open up in the final, smile at least and have fun.”
- Yamada added that her coach advised her to slow down on her strokes, so she tried to be calm and not feel overwhelmed, referring to her win as the “most thoughtful” race she’s ever done.
- She dedicated her medal to everyone who has supported her along the way, especially her coach, and her mom who encouraged her to have fun.
Swimming history: After watching the Rio Games in 2016, she was inspired to begin training competitively.
- She started swimming when she was 5 in order to alleviate her asthma, according to her Olympic profile.
- The Niigata Prefecture-based swimmer was born without arms, and she currently uses a wheelchair due to limited mobility in her legs.
- When she swims, she kicks strongly and uses the rest of her body to drive herself forward in the water.
- Yamada received the Niigata Prefecture Para Sports Encouragement Award in Japan in 2019.
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