Brazilian Champion Hoping to Make History in Guadalajara

12 Sep 2011 By IPC

“I’m lucky because I meet up with my main rival every day for training.”

After setting two new 100m world records earlier this year, Brazil’s Paralympic and world champion sprinter Terezinha Guilhermina has set herself a new target – to become the first female para-athlete to run 100m under 12 seconds.

The 32-year-old from Betim, a small city in the State of Minas Gerais, southeast of Brazil, has had an astonishing 2011.

In January, at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, the visually impaired T11 sprinter lowered her own 100m world record, set in 2007, from 12.27 to 12.13 seconds. She also claimed the world title in the 200m, where she broke a 10 year old world record, and took gold in the 400m.

Then in June, at a meeting in Germany, she ran 12.04 seconds, lowering her world record further and now plans to go even faster at November’s Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Speaking exclusively to, Terezinha Guilhermina said: “I’ve been preparing myself to run 100m under 12 seconds and my goal is to achieve this in Mexico during the Parapan Games.”

To achieve this, psychology student Guilhermina knows she must beat her greatest rival and has been undertaking therapy sessions alongside her physical training to be mentally fit for what lies ahead.

“I’m lucky because I meet up with my main rival every day for training,” explained Guilhermina, who was welcomed back from January’s IPC World Championships by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. “I class myself as my biggest rival. I don’t want to lose to Terezinha, and I don’t want Terezinha to lose to me.”

Having lost her vision at a young age, Guilhermina has to run with a guide, Guilherme Santana, who she is quick to pay tribute to.

“We’ve been working together for almost one year and he’s been a blessing for me.”

From of a family of 12 siblings, where five have visual impairments, Guilhermina was introduced to Para-sports 11 years ago when her hometown organized a swimming and athletics tournament.

“I enrolled in swimming because I had a swimming suit and no shoes, though my desire was to join athletics. When I got home I told my sister and she gave me her shoes.”

Since then Guilhermina has been writing her name in Paralympic history. She made her debut at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games and won 400m bronze. In Beijing in 2008, she secured medals in every sprint she competed in: 200m gold, 100m silver and 400m bronze.

An icon in Paralympic sports and inspiration to people all around the world, the Brazilian also finds her encouragement in athletes within the Paralympic Movement.

“All Paralympians with great achievements inspire me and I try to learn from each of them,” said Guilhermina who believes the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are a chance of showing the world that Brazil is not just the land of football.

“Brazil has athletes and winners in many sports and we hope the Brazilians will get to know their real heroes.

“It’s expected that by 2016, Paralympic Sports in Brazil will be at a level whereby athletes, investors and the audience feel there is professionalism and that, independent of our disabilities, we master our sports and we are as capable of great achievements as other athletes,” she added.