“This year has been incredible and productive in terms of not only my personal life, but also my sporting career.”
Israel Hilario Rimas, a pioneer of the Peruvian para-cycling scene, demonstrated his capabilities on the global stage throughout 2015.
Hilario, the only representative from his country in the para-cycling scene, won two gold medals from the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup in Maniago, Italy, and Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland. But to top that all off, Hilario won the C2 road race at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland.
The Peruvian’s breakthrough season enters at No. 12 in the International Paralympic Committee’s Top 50 Moments of 2015.
“This year has been incredible and productive in terms of not only my personal life, but also my sporting career,” Hilario said.
“Firstly, I got married with my wife, Sandra Borràs, the woman I love and the one who supports towards me and my career in every way possible. Secondly, I am proud to have achieved world titles in the same year.”
He remembered vividly the time when he was crowned a world champion in July.
“It was a great challenge, because I separated from the main group and rode alone for 49km. I arrived at the finishing line with [1 minute, 25 seconds] before the rest of the group. That's why this victory has been the most memorable this year."
The-41-year-old believed that his remarkable performance was also encouraging the Paralympic Movement in Peru.
“All these achievements are not only for me, but also for the Peruvian people," he said.
“My main contribution to the Paralympic Movement has been that I have showed that people with impairments like myself are just as capable as able-bodied cyclists to compete in such demanding challenges and races.”
He said this year, he has seen important and valuable changes regarding his country’s approach to para-sports.
“Peru is considering to integrate more para-athletes into the sporting arena. They are also looking for new athletes including talented youths. Thanks to this kind of support, we have a great expectation for future para-cyclists.”
Moreover Rima, himself, has also given a direct helping hand to a fellow para-athlete.
“Besides me, in Peru there is one more para-cyclist who competes in mountain biking. He recently has asked me for some help related to his level of performance. When I heard that, I was more than happy to assist him,” Hilario said.
However, he still highlighted the need for increasing awareness and recognition in society, when it came to the lives of para-athletes.
“I would like to see how society could understand what it really means to be a professional in para-sports,” he continued.
“Although we now have more support than before, we are still far from reaching the same level as other countries," he said. "I am certain that we’ll be able to compete on equal terms with the rest of the world, if we have similar overall levels of access to assistance as available like elite sports.”
“One’s disability can’t be an excuse for not achieving an objective and making one’s dreams come true.”
Currently, he is solitarily on the road once again, competing at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“At the moment I’m refining some techniques as well as having some recovery training sessions in preparation for next season.”
He is hoping that this year’s accomplishments become a stepping stone toward his successful Paralympic debut.
“I just wish to earn another title in 2016,” Hilario said.
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2015, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website.