Latvian earns gold in Paralympic Games

With a throw of 18.98 meters, Aigars Apīnis has won a gold medal for Latvia in the discus event during the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. He also set a new Paralympic record.

Apīnis won in the F52 class. His first of three throws in the Sept. 21 final broke the record set in 2000 by Ghader Modobber Raz of Iran.

““I have been preparing for four years to come to Athens and win the gold medal,” Apīnis said after the event, according to the official Athens 2004 Web site. “What makes it more important for me is the fact that this is the first Paralympic Games (gold) medal for my country.”

The silver medal went to Rico Glagla of Germany and the bronze to Peter Martin of New Zealand.

“I was very anxious because athletes with better personal bests competed,” Apīnis said. “So until the last moment of the competition I was afraid that someone might throw further than I had.”

His gold medal is the second medal for Latvia. Edgars Bergs won a silver in the shot put on Sept. 21.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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