Rodríguez Uribes, president of the CSD: “Each Paralympic athlete tells us a story of improvement” | Sports

In exactly six months, a new edition of the Paralympic Games will kick off, which will begin in Paris just 17 days after the end of the Olympic Games, organized at the same venue. That is why this Wednesday, the Spanish Paralympic Committee (CPE) opened the doors of the High Performance Center (CAR) to various media, to be able to chat and learn how some of the athletes who will represent Spain next summer are preparing. an event that still has no one to broadcast it within the country.

The media day consisted of a day of more than three hours, which began with the appearance of the president of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, and the president of the CPE, Miguel Carballeda, and then continued with an extensive tour of the sports facilities. There, in their respective training centers, the Spanish swimming, athletics and basketball teams were waiting to share their expectations about the summer event.

Before, Rodríguez Uribes addressed those present. “We are on the cusp of one of the most inspiring and exciting events in the sporting world: the Paris Paralympic Games. And just six months after the inauguration, we gather here to highlight the talent, dedication and unbreakable spirit of our athletes, but also to demand their visibility,” mentioned the president of the CSD. In the same way, he took advantage of his intervention to highlight the importance of “the exploits and achievements” of athletes with disabilities being made known to the rest of society. “Each Paralympic athlete tells us a story of improvement and has an unwavering desire to achieve excellence and personal fulfillment,” he said, and then ended by calling for the media to increasingly echo those stories.

Already in the sports facilities, the swimming, athletics and basketball teams were committed to helping Spain surpass its Tokyo results in Paris, when the Spanish Paralympic delegation won 36 medals (9 gold, 15 silver and 12 bronze). , taking fifteenth position in the medal table. So far, Spain has 63 athletes qualified for the Paralympic Games, but the CPE estimates that this number could double in the coming months, due to the qualifying competitions that are still ahead. In addition, the sports institution also highlights that they already have a guaranteed presence in 8 of the 22 disciplines that will be seen in Paris 2024, but that they expect that number to rise to 18 between now and the summer event begins.

For Toni Ponce (Barcelona, ​​36 years old), one of the leaders of the swimming team, personal expectations for the Games are to repeat or surpass the two silver medals with which the swimmer with a motor disability returned from the last Olympics. “I would like to fight for medals again, I think we can compete well and we are training for it,” says the current 100-meter breaststroke world champion.

In the athletics team, no one knows better what it is like to compete in the Paralympic Games than Sara Martínez (Madrid, 34 years old). With five participations under her belt, the Madrid native seeks to qualify for her sixth Games in the coming months, something she faces with enthusiasm: “The first expectation is to arrive and, once classified, the second is to be on the podium,” she points out. Something that she already achieved in Tokyo, by winning silver in the long jump for athletes with severe visual disabilities, her first medal on the highest stage. “I have changed a lot, because in Athens (2004) she was a girl, who only thought about going and enjoying herself. In the following ones, the objective now shifts to competing for medals. I have been in this all my life and I have matured a lot, both in the sporting part and in the personal part,” she points out when asked to take a tour of her career.

The day ends on a basketball court, with the Paralympic team inviting everyone present to sit in a wheelchair and try to score a basket, something that few achieve. Alejandro Zarzuela (Jerez de la Frontera, 36 years old) is one of the veterans of the national team, who has a silver in Rio de Janeiro (2016) and several medals in international competitions. After the summer, Zarzuela thinks about retiring from the national team to dedicate more time to his family, but first, he wants to say goodbye with a good participation in Paris: “I want to help the team in any way I can, feel useful and enjoy the party to the fullest.” ”. And he will not leave without transmitting to those who come behind him what it means to represent his country on the most important stage: “To those who come I would say that representing Spain is something very nice, but at the same time it is a great responsibility. In that sense, it gives me peace of mind to see young people pushing hard and to know that the team is in good hands,” he concludes.

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