As of this Tuesday, the Paralympic Games begin where the limits do not exist. In them, it is worth dreaming everything, since the athletes who participate are doubly winners. Not only did they have to fight against the adversity of a society that fills them with obstacles, but they also had to overcome themselves to reach the elite of world sport.
A total of 4,400 men and women with different disabilities will compete hard in games that promote equal treatment of Olympian athletes with disabilities. And in the same way, they will be demanded the same as high performance athletes.
Costa Rican participation
Costa Rica will have 9 representatives who reached their classification, either with minimal marks or giving a performance that allowed them to opt for the direct invitation to the competition.
Each of them has his/her own story, which we tell you in this brief review:
Age: 23 years
Discipline: Track and field
A tragic accident in 2017 with his motorcycle caused him to lose his left leg. Many feared that this great promise of Tico athletics would leave the sports world forever. Nothing is further from reality. A few days after the misfortune, Sherman set out to become one of the best para-Olympians and wants to show his progress.
One of his challenges is that he has had to get used to three prostheses: one for training, one for walking and one for racing. He will be in the 100 and 200 flat meter races, after obtaining his classification since 2019.
Jose Pablo Gil
Age: 25 years
Discipline: Wheelchair tennis
He had a talent for soccer, but ended up falling in love with tennis, a sport he has practiced since he was 10 years old. He played the Coffee Cup and at the age of 18 he devoted himself fully to this sport, to the point that he was even on the ATP tour.
However, in 2016 he suffered an accident that even left him in a coma for two weeks. Six months later, when he thought he would give up the sport for good, he knew he could play adapted tennis. To attend Tokyo, he received a bipartisan invitation from the Paralympic Committee and the International Tennis Federation.
Ernesto ‘Lobito’ Fonseca
Age: 39 years
Discipline: Track and field
From a very young age, his thing was motorcycles and he showed great talent on motocross tracks when he raced in the 50cc class from age 5. Since then, everyone knew that he would be a legend.
Not only did he triumph in the country, but he also won tournaments at the Latin American level. The next step, at just 17 years old, was to dedicate himself to professionalism in motocross and supercross. After establishing himself among the greats of that sport, in 2006 he had a serious accident that made him lose mobility from the chest down. Despite this, “Lobito” did not give up. Now he is dedicated to competing in a wheelchair and rubs shoulders with the best in the world of the discipline. In Tokyo he will run the 100 and 200 meter events.
Age: 21 years
Camila was born to compete. From the age of three she practiced soccer, swimming and athletics. At 16, Camila was called up to the Costa Rican team for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Thus, she became the first female athlete to compete in the Paralympic Games for Costa Rica.
The young woman achieved a silver medal at the Lima 2019 Para Pan American Games, in the 100-meter breaststroke event. She also stood out internationally in the 400 meter freestyle. Due to her times in various competitions, she received an invitation to attend the Games in the 100-meter breaststroke event.
Age: 38 years old
He was an outstanding runner who competed in several editions of the Vuelta a Costa Rica. He had such a good performance that he represented the country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
However, he had to face two challenges that completely changed his life. He first suffered from lymphatic cancer in 2012. Three years later, in 2015 he had a terrible accident where he suffered a skull fracture when he was contesting the Vuelta a San Carlos, which left him several sequels.
Still, he managed to get back on the bike and compete again, this time as a Paralympic athlete. Among his achievements is a silver medal obtained in Lima 2019. Again he faced cancer, but now he feels completely cured and ready to run.
Age: 32 years old
Taekwondo will make its debut at the Paralympic Games and Costa Rica will be well represented. Molina currently ranks seventh in the world in the World Taekwondo Federation ranking at the Paralympic level in the 75 kilogram category.
This was his sport since he was a child. His great illusion was to compete in the Central American Games that would take place in our country, but a work accident, which occurred a year earlier, in 2012, cut short his dream. After going through a difficult stage in his life, Molina returned to taekwondo, a sport in which he has achieved multiple achievements at the national and Central American level.
Age: 21 years
Discipline: Track and field
Melissa is a visually impaired sprinter who will compete in the 100 and 400 meter sprint events in Tokyo. “I am very happy, I have not come out of astonishment yet, being in the Paralympic Games is a pride for me,” said Melissa after securing her classification.
Her claim at the Games is to lower her personal marks. Her best 100-meter time is 13:78, which she scored at the Lima 2019 Para Pan American Games. Meanwhile, in 400 meters, it is 1:07.17, which she recently achieved in Arizona, United States. Melissa is a math student at the University of Costa Rica.
Age: 19 years
Discipline: table tennis
Since birth, Steven has suffered from hemiparesis, a condition that causes partial paralysis in his left arm and leg. However, this has not been an impediment to train like the best and obtain important triumphs in his sport.
The outstanding paraathlete has a silver medal at the Lima 2019 Para Pan American Games. He also achieved silver at the 2019 Costa Rica Open and a gold at the 2017 Costa Rica Pan American Open.
To arrive well prepared for the Tokyo Games, the young man, a native of San Carlos, moved to the hostel of the Olympic Committee, in Coronado, and trained in San José alongside conventional tennis players.
Age: 44 years
With a lot of discipline and training, Diego Quesada managed to qualify for the Paralympic Games. The quota was obtained thanks to a bipartisan invitation, extended by the Paralympic Committee and the international federation of the sport he practices.
When he found out about qualifying, it was an overwhelming emotion that he couldn’t believe. He even tells that he was on an appointment with his psychologist when he received the confirmation letter. After verifying its veracity, he melted into a hug with his psychologist and cried. Previously, Quesada had traveled to Mexico, along with his coach, David Salazar, in search of the pass.
Games amid pandemic
The Paralympic Games will be held in the same venues where the Olympic Games were held a few weeks ago. And as on that occasion, the public will not be allowed to enter the events due to the sanitary restrictions of Covid-19.
Japan is facing a record number of covid-19 cases. The number of daily infections exceeds 25,000 and the number of serious patients is also growing, the AFP agency reported on Friday. That day the Paralympic flame and the logo of the games that will take place from August 24 to September 5 were installed.