Colombian Érica Castaño Sets Parapan American Record in Discus F55

The 38-year-old para-athlete achieved a mark of 26.21 meters, surpassing the record set in Lima 2019 by Mexican Rosa María Guerrero.

Friday, November 24th, 2023.- Colombian Érica María Castaño secured the gold medal in the female's discus throw F55 (competing in a seated position) and, in addition, set a new Parapan American record, surpassing the achievement of Mexican Rosa María Guerrero at Lima 2019.

Castaño had a throw of 26.21 meters in the fourth attempt, significantly beating the North American's record from four years ago (22.64).

The silver medal went to Rosa Guerrero, who threw 25.09 meters, while the bronze was claimed by Brazilian Poliana de Sousa with 13.79.

After completing the event and receiving congratulations from fellow para-athletes, Érica spoke about the new record. 'Yes, I think it was something I had been seeking for about a year. I faced a very strong rival, a world champion. I fulfilled my expectation 100 percent and improved my personal best. And it's a medal that I bring to my country with all the love in the world,' she said.

On December 8, 2008, Castaño was shot, leaving her in a wheelchair and changing her life. She suffered a spinal cord injury from a gunshot wound at the T12 level, a lesion that affects the spine.

However, it was not the only act of violence she had experienced. Her father had died in 2004, also as a result of a similar situation. Five months earlier, Carlos, her older brother, had fallen victim to a stray bullet while in a commercial area of Medellín and found himself in the midst of a shootout.

Far from ending her dreams, Érica Castaño is now a true figure in Colombian Paralympics. A double silver medalist at the World Para Athletics Championships in London 2017, fourth place and a Paralympic diploma in Rio 2016, and silver and bronze medalist at the Parapan American Games in Toronto 2015 are some of her most notable achievements, to which she has just added the gold medal in the discus throw, F55 class, at Santiago 2023.

Written by Ernesto Bustos B.–José Tomás Lambert; translated by Paulette Bertín / Santiago 2023 vía Photosport
Photo by Jonnahtan Oyarzún / Santiago 2023 vía Photosport