August 31, 2012
Some folks mark their name-day by receiving flowers and sweets from friends. Aigars Apinis brings home the gold.
Apinis, 39, set a new world record Aug. 31 in the men’s shot put and won a gold medal for Latvia in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, according to official results. Aug. 31 also is the name-day (vārdadiena) for people named Aigars or Vilma.
Apinis reached a distance of 10.23 meters to set the new record. The silver medal went to Mexico’s Mauro Maximo de Jesus, who reached 8.68 meters for a seasonal best. Scot Severn of the United States won the bronze medal.
It was the third time Apinis medaled in the shot put. Apinis won a bronze in the event in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. Eight years later in the Beijing Paralympics, Apinis set a world record and won a silver medal.
Apinis competes in the F52 classification, which is for wheelchair athletes who throw from a seated position, according to the Olympics and Paralympics website, london2012.com.
Besides the shot put, Apinis also competes in the discus event, in which he also has medaled several times. He won bronze in the Sydney Paralympics, gold in the 2004 Athens Paralympics and gold again in the Beijing. Apinis is scheduled to compete in the discus throw Sept. 6 in London.
The Paralympic Games began Aug. 29 and run through Sept. 9. Six athletes from Latvia are competing in various events.
Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000-2012 he was editor of the website.