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Running guide surprises visually impaired sprinter with proposal at Tokyo Paralympics

Visually-impaired Paralympian Keula Nidreia Pereira Semedo of Cape Verde gleefully accepted a surprise wedding proposal from her guide after a 200-meter race.
/ Source: TODAY

Partners on the track became partners for life in a touching proposal following a 200-meter women's race at the Tokyo Paralympics on Wednesday.

Visually impaired runner Keula Nidreia Pereira Semedo of Cape Verde finished fourth in her qualifying heat, but she ended up with something even better than a gold medal.

Following the race, her guide, Manuel Antonio Vaz da Vega, grasped her right hand, got down on one knee and produced an engagement ring.

Semedo, 32, tearfully accepted the surprise proposal and the two shared a hug as their fellow competitors applauded.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Athletics
Guide Manuel Antonio Vaz da Veiga got down on one knee and proposed to visually-impaired Paralympian Keula Nidreia Pereira Semedo of Cape Verde in front of other athletes after she competed in a 200-meter women's qualifying heat in Tokyo. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

Visually impaired runners compete with a partner who is attached to them via a small tether, so Semedo and da Vega already had become a tight-knit team on the track.

"May the two of them run together for life! ❤️" the official Paralympics account tweeted.

She showed off her engagement ring as the guides for the other runners in the race explained to them what was happening, resulting in them breaking out in smiles and applause.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Athletics
The newly-engaged couple shared a sweet hug as their fellow competitors cheered. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

Semedo, who lives in Portugal but competes for her birth country of Cape Verde, has been competing since she was a teen in 2005 after the encouragement of a teacher.

She listed da Vega as the top influence on her career in her Olympic profile, but now she can add "future husband" to that description.

Love has been in the air in Tokyo this summer, as Argentine fencer Maria Belen Perez Maurice also got engaged at the Olympics in July. Her coach and boyfriend of 17 years, Lucas Saucedo, proposed to her after a loss to Hungary's Anna Marton, which she excitedly accepted.