Pedro Pichardo won Portugal’s last medal, bringing home gold in the men’s triple jump competition. Photo: JOSÉ COELHO/LUSA

President Marcelo praises medal-winning athletes after Portugal’s “best Olympic games ever”

Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will be holding a special ceremony to welcome the Portuguese athletes who won medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which came to a close on Sunday (August 8).

Portugal’s athletes put on their best performances ever at the Olympic Games, winning one gold, one silver and two bronze medals as well as 15 Olympic diplomas.

Said President Marcelo in an official statement on the Presidency of the Republic’s website, “the expectations and goals set by the Portuguese were surpassed”.

“Sports have a role in our society that should be valued,” said the president.

“Sports are an important pillar of social integration and help promote our national identity.

“The postponement of the Olympics and the fact that they were held in such a distant city with such a different climate from our own were additional difficulties to what was already a very long and demanding preparation,” said the president, adding that coaches, staff and athletes were able to rise up to the challenge.

Speaking to RTP, the head of State also vowed to welcome the country’s medal-winning athletes in Belém and decorate them with medals of merit.

He also said that while the country’s school sports programme (Desporto Escolar) has improved significantly, there is still more that needs to be done to improve it, particularly with regard to certain sports.

Judoka Jorge Fonseca was the first Portuguese athlete to make the Olympic podium, winning bronze in the -100kg category of the Olympic judo competition.

Fonseca, a two-time world champion, vowed to achieve the gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Portugal’s second Olympic medal was won by triple jumper Patrícia Mamona, an athlete who discovered the sport via Portugal’s ‘Desporto Escolar’ and who set a new national record of 15.01m to win silver in the women’s triple jump contest.

She was only beaten by Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas, who set a new world record with a 15.67m jump.

The third Olympic medal was won by Fernando Pimenta who finished third in the Olympic men’s kayak single 1000m competition.

Pedro Pichardo won Portugal’s last medal, bringing home gold in the men’s triple jump competition.

The 28-year-old Cuban-born athlete put on an amazing performance, jumping 41cm further than second-placed Zhu Yaming from China (17.57m), and 51cm further than Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango (17.47m).

The Algarve also saw some of its athletes putting on great performances, such as surfer Yolanda Hopkins and race walker João Vieira who finished fifth in their respective categories and were awarded Olympic diplomas.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com