Russia move to 2nd in Paralympic medal count

Team Russia have leapfrogged hosts Great Britain to climb to second place in the overall medal standings at the London Paralympics with 73 medals, including 28 gold.

­It took Raisa Chebanika 15 long years to finally clinch Paralympic gold.

Yes, there were several world and continental golds in the run-up to the most significant start of her life, but all those achievements fade in comparison to what she accomplished in London.

“When I come home from the Paralympics, I’ll thank God for this victory and that he saved my life, because I was on the verge of death at the end of last year,” Chebanika told RT. “Then I’ll meet my friends and we’ll celebrate my great performance.”

Russian athletes are traditionally strong in track and field, along with swimming, and this also proved true in London, with the medal count going into double digits in both disciplines.

Elena Pautova won gold in the 1,500 meters, becoming her second top Paralympic accolade in eight years.

“I devote this victory to those who supported me,” she stressed. “But first of all, I devote it to my coach and his wife, because if it weren’t for them, this victory would have never happened at all. They are like my second parents, like doctors and psychologists.”

With a few days still to go in the London Paralympics, Russia has already surpassed its medal count from Beijing four years ago.

It is now clear that the hosts of the next Winter Games in Sochi will fight for a place in the top three.

More importantly, Russia continues to show an upward trend, both in the number of medals and the number of athletes competing.

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