Portugal wins 32 medals at Down Syndrome World Championships
Athletes celebrating their achievements Photo: CMA©RuiGregorio

Portugal wins 32 medals at Down Syndrome World Championships

UK finishes in first spot with 50 medals, ahead of Portugal (32) in second

Portugal won 32 medals at the 10th edition of the Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships, which were held in Albufeira between October 15 and 23.

The impressive results (12 gold, 9 silver and 11 bronze) helped the host country finish second in the medal standings, trailing only the UK which won 50 (18 gold, 22 silver and 10 bronze).

Mexico finished in third with more medals than Portugal (35), but fewer gold medals (eight against Portugal’s 12).

“It was a perfect championship,” José Machado, sports director of the Portuguese Swimming Federation (FPN), told Lusa news agency.

“Our swimmers were exemplary in the way they faced the competition, in their teamwork and how they showed their will to go even further,” Machado added, celebrating the “best results” Portugal has ever achieved at the event.

Portugal wins 32 medals at Down Syndrome World Championships
Athlete Vicente Pereira from Portugal won an impressive 13 medals
Photo: CMA©RuiGregorio

Ten national swimmers won medals at the event, while three world records were also set by Portuguese swimmers.

The federation also supports the creation of a special category for the inclusion of Down Syndrome athletes at the Paralympic Games – a goal that many countries around the world have been working together to achieve for years.

Spain’s Camino Martinez (women’s U21) and Portugal’s Vicente Pereira (men’s U21) were hailed as the championship’s best swimmers, with the latter winning an impressive 13 medals.

Meanwhile, Poland’s Jagoda Litner and Brazil’s Caique Aimoré achieved the best results in the women’s and men’s mosaic categories.

Portugal wins 32 medals at Down Syndrome World Championships
Albufeira mayor José Carlos Rolo
Photo: CMA©RuiGregorio

A closing dinner was held on Sunday, October 23 and attended by the vice-presidents of FPN, Rui Sardinha and Miguel Miranda, who gifted plaques to Albufeira mayor José Carlos Rolo and deputy mayor Cristiano Cabrita as well as Barbara Higgins from DSISO (Down Syndrome International Swimming Organisation); the CEO of NAU Hotels, Mário Ferreira; Carla Cardoso, a representative for the National Sports Association for Intellectual Development; and José Perdigão, president of the Algarve Swimming Association.

José Carlos Rolo and Cristiano Cabrita also handed out souvenirs to the 23 delegations that participated in the event.

“Albufeira is a municipality of inclusion and equal opportunity. Hosting the DSISO World Championship in Albufeira, with our financial, logistical and communicational support, establishes us as a destination of excellence for big international events,” Rolo said after the event.

Cristiano Cabrita added that all participating athletes are “great examples of human resilience” and added that the event has helped Albufeira cement its status as a major sports destination in Portugal.

“It is for this reason and many others that we want to be a European City of Sport in 2026. This is the way for our municipality,” he said.