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Pelendritou’s Paralympics race annulled, to be rescheduled (updated)

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The International Paralympic Committee on Friday annulled the women’s 50m freestyle S11 final following a complaint from the Dutch team, hours after Cypriot Paralympic swimmer Karolina Pelendritou had been awarded the bronze medal in the race.

An announcement from the Cyprus Paralympic Committee said “the race will be repeated at a date yet to be announced.”

“The reasons behind the decision, in accordance with the existing rules of the International Paralympic Committee, will not be communicated,” the announcement said.

Pelendritou had finished third behind Chinese swimmers Ma Jia, who set a new world record at 29.46 seconds, and Li Guizhi, who closed at 29.66 seconds.

Pelendritou’s time in the final was recorded at 29.80, an improvement to her time in the semi-final of 29.92 seconds, which at the time set a new world record.

Before Tokyo, the Cypriot swimmer won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in 2008, while at the London Olympics in 2012 she won silver.

Earlier on Friday and before the International Paralympic Committee’s decision was announced, President Nicos Anastasiades had led a chorus of congratulations to Pelendritou with a tweet.

“Bronze medal for Karolina Pelendritou! She has won medals for our country in four different Olympic Games! Great job, thanks Karolina,” the President said.

The Cyprus Olympic committee (Koe) also joined the chorus of praise.

“Her brilliant achievements keep honouring our country and the world of sport,” Koe president George Chrysostomou said.

“Her success, however, is not just related to sports. She has proven once again that she is a shining example of hope for all of Cypriot society and we will continue to support her in any way we can.”

Chrysostomou also extended his congratulations to the Limassol Nautical Club, of which Pelendritou is a member, as well as to the Cyprus Swimming Federation and the Cyprus Paralympic Committee.

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