Cunningham claims gold for Jamaica at London Paralympics

LONDON, England, Friday September 7, 2012 - Jamaica has grabbed gold in London again, winning its first gold medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games thanks to Alphonso Cunningham who threw the javelin a record distance on Tuesday.

Cunningham, who was holding steady in third place, surprised spectators and fellow competitors by throwing a regional record of 21.84 metres on his fifth and penultimate throw in the men’s 52-53 Javelin Final.

Chef de mission Suzanne Harris-Henry told the RJR Communications group that Cunningham’s feat left the nine-member Jamaica team in euphoria.

“When we saw it was 21.84 metres we were all screaming. We were all elated. From the time we saw that throw we said ‘yes’ and when they said ‘ranked number one’ we said ‘yes it’s the gold medal’,” Harris-Henry said.

“We didn’t want to celebrate too early because they were other throwers after him and we said let’s see what they will come up with, but once it was all over there were lots of screams. We were really elated”.

This latest win marks Cunningham’s second gold medal at the Paralympic Games, having won the discus at the 2004 Athens games with a world record throw.

Cunningham is also scheduled to compete in the F51 through 53 discus in the London games.

At the time of Cunningham’s win, Jamaica was ranked 43rd at the medal table which was led by China with 132 medals including 53 golds.

The London Paralympics, which began on August 29, are set to climax on Sunday September 9. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)