Brazilian Aranha’s final preparations for Sochi debut

Cross-country sit-skier Fernando Aranha is one of two athletes who make up the Brazilian team heading to Sochi 2014 for their Winter Paralympic Games debut. 16 Feb 2014
Fernando Aranha of Brazil

Fernando Aranha of Brazil also competes in para-cycling and para-triathlon and will compete at Sochi alongside snowboarder teammate Andrea Cintra.

ⒸBrazil Paralympic Committee
By Brazil Paralympic Committee

"We will raise awareness and open the doors for thousands of other people.”

São Paulo cross-country sit-skier Fernando Aranha is one of two Brazilians who will represent their country at its Paralympic Winter Games debut at Sochi 2014, and is heading to Winter Park, USA, to put the finishing touches on his preparations.

At the National Sports Center for Disabled (NSCD), located in Winter Park in the mountains of Colorado, Aranha, 35, will be trained by US coach Mark Abbott, who will also accompany the Brazilian in Russia. Abbott was by Aranha’s side in November and December 2013, when the skier competed in the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup, in Canmore, Canada, and successfully qualified for all three individual events at Sochi 2014 (1km sprint, 10km middle distance and 15km long distance).

The acclimatisation period from 20 February will focus mainly on specific high altitude training sessions. When he was in Brazil at the beginning of the year, Aranha trained on asphalt.

“Aranha will be training with a group of American para-Nordic skiers. The goal will be to reap the benefits of training at high altitude and also work on the psychological and physical side, having him interact with the snow again and perfect his technique if required," explains Abbott.

“Aranha has evolved a lot, both physically and technically during the training sessions we did at the end of last year”.

As well as being a pioneer, Aranha is confident he can finish at Sochi in the top 15: “I think it's a reasonable goal, considering the level of my rival athletes and this being my first Paralympic Games."

Aranha and São Paulo snowboarder Andre Cintra will be Brazil’s only representatives in Sochi, just over two years ahead of the next summer Games at Rio 2016, a responsibility Aranha takes very seriously.

“We will prove that not only athletes from northern countries can participate in a winter sports competition.

"We will raise awareness and open the doors for thousands of other people.”

Profile – Fernando Aranha

Date and place of birth: 10 April, 1978, in São Paulo

Weight: 76kg

Height: 1.63m

Due to polio at the age of 4, Fernando Aranha lost a certain amount of movement in his legs. He was 16 when a friend suggested wheelchair basketball. After running away from the orphanage in which he lived to find a team in Ibirapuera Park, he also started to try other sports. Today, in addition to cross-country skiing, he also competes in para-cycling and para-triathlon.

Find out more about Brazil's particpation at Sochi with the IPC's country facts.

Related Videos