Colombia’s first boccia World Championship medallist Euclides Grisales wants to use his success to garner awareness about his sport, and he can do that at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games beginning Friday in Peru.
Grisales fell short in the final at Liverpool 2018, taking the BC4 silver medal. But that achievement remained a historic moment for his country, making him one of the most well-known athletes entering Lima 2019.
“I want to leave a legacy for future generations,” Grisales said. “I’ll keep working hard so that this sport can continue growing day by day in Colombia.”
“For me, this medal is the pride to be a pioneer in my country by leaving a big mark on the boccia history and becoming an example for junior athletes,” Grisales said.
The-29-year-old fell to gold medallist Yusansen Zheng from China in Liverpool, Great Britain. But the Colombian believes he has more in store.
He hopes success at Lima 2019 Parapan will lead him to his Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
“After the end of 2018, I analysed my performances thoroughly, because I want not only to refine my skills but also to develop new techniques,” said Grisales, who earned a silver at the last Parapan American Games in 2015.
“My expectation for upcoming Lima 2019 is to give my best performance.”
Above all, he wants to seize every single moment.
“Each event enriches my experiences by teaching me new things including cultures and languages. Lima 2019 will be no exception.”
Grisales’ wealth of experience including at the 2014 Worlds was one key to his progress.
“In previous years I had studied rivals and their way of playing. I did tactical work that helped me to get an idea of their passible playing styles ahead of Liverpool 2018.”
He also stressed out the importance of a strong attitude.
“Boccia is a very dynamic and strategic sport, so I must always have a very open mind towards different situations during each match,” he commented.
“During 10 years of my sporting career, every time I competed, I learned something new that makes my training method changeable. Therefore, I don’t focus on any particular things.”
Tokyo 2020 in mind
The Colombian cannot help but imagine himself on a Paralympic stage since he took up the sport in 2009.
“It is my biggest dream to represent Colombia at [a single edition of] the Paralympics, and I am about to achieve it. It has been years of hard work and sacrifice, but I am reaping the fruits,” he said.
“Boccia changed my life completely, because it made me believe that I can overcome my difficulties with dedication.”