Cape Verde sprinter Keula Nidreia Pereira Semedo might have missed the qualification for the semi-finals, but she will return from the Tokyo Paralympics with a win she will never want to forget. After finishing fourth at the tournament, as she tried to collect herself, her guide Manuel Antonio Vaz da Vega – who ran with her across the finish line – dropped to the knee and asked her to marry him. She said “yes”. The surprise track-side proposal was captured on camera and won many hearts.
Some visually-challenged runners race alongside a guide, bound together by a rope around their wrists.
A GIF shared by the official Twitter handle of the ParaAthletics showed the moment the guide proposed the athlete shortly after the 200-metre women’s race on Wednesday. It showed other athletes and their guides celebrating the moment with a round of applause. As Vaz da Veiga places a ring on her finger, a visibly overjoyed Pereira Semedo smiles.
Tweeting the clip, the official Twitter handle of the Paralympic Games said, “May the two of them run together for life!”
Many others shared Pereira Semedo’s excitement and praised the new companionship. A user said they are a team “on the field and off”.
Many also congratulated them and found the moment incredible.
In her official Paralympics profile, Pereira Semedo cites her guide as having a great influence on her. It also states that she took up athletics at age of 15 in Cape Verde after one of her teachers encouraged her to try the sport. In 2012, the Cape Verde government honoured her with the Medal of Sports Merit.