Cape Verde sprinter Keula Nidreia Pereira Semedo may have missed out on a medal, but she will go back home from the Tokyo Paralympics with something else. The visually impaired Paralympian had just completed the women’s 200m T11 heat on Wednesday when her running guide, Manuel Antonio Vaz da Veiga, dropped to the knee and asked for her hand in marriage.
Semedo said “yes” to cheers from other athletes and their guides. A video of the proposal shared by the NBC Olympics Twitter account shows Vaz da Veiga putting the ring on Semedo’s finger. He then embraces Semedo as she smiles.
There's love on the track in Tokyo ❤️
After a women's 200m T11 qualifying heat, guide Manuel Antonio Vaz da Veiga of Cape Verde proposed to the athlete that he partners, Keula Nidreia Pereira Semedo. #TokyoParalympics pic.twitter.com/RJYKMpO7k9Loading...
— #TokyoParalympics (@NBCOlympics) September 2, 2021
32-year-old Semedo competes for Cape Verde but lives in Portugal. She moved from Cape Verde to Portugal in 2010 with her mother. Semedo’s Olympic profile says she got into athletics in Cape Verde when she was 15.
One of her teachers had urged her to try the sport, and she has since not regretted it. She says in her profile that her running guide Vaz da Veiga, who guides her during races with a piece of rope tied around their wrists, has had a great influence on her.
Their finish line proposal has been widely celebrated on social media. The official Paralympic Games Twitter account wrote: “May the two of them run together for life!”
Their engagement is not the first in Tokyo this summer. Argentine fencer María Belén Pérez Maurice was also surprised with a proposal from her coach, who held up a sign asking her to marry him during a post-match interview.
Semedo placed fourth in Wednesday’s heat, thus, she did not make it to the final, which will take place on Saturday. The paralympic sprinter, who has a diploma as a physiotherapist, was honored with the Medal of Sports Merit by the government of Cape Verde in 2012.