“Of course the competitive level is higher at the Paralympics, however, Guadalajara is important because you are competing to qualify for London.”
Editor's Note: Prior to November’s Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is counting down the top 10 storylines to watch. Today, we begin with Mexican swimmer Nely Miranda at No. 10.
Mexican swimming sensation Nely Miranda would rather keep the waters calm heading into major competitions such as next month’s Parapan American Games in Guadalajara.
The 29-year-old, who won two gold medals at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, does not like to strut her stuff as one of North America’s top swimmers.
“I could be top five,” a very humble Miranda said in regards to the world’s best swimmers in the S4 category.
At the Parapans, which will be held from 12-20 November, 1,500 athletes from 26 different nations will compete in 13 sports.
“Every international competition has its own degree of importance,” Miranda said. “Of course the competitive level is higher at the Paralympics, however, Guadalajara is important because you are competing to qualify for London.”
While individuals themselves cannot qualify for London 2012 in Guadalajara, the races will be important, as athletes will be able to earn qualification spots for their respective countries.
Miranda will swim in the 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle S4 races in Mexico, all of which she won at the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
She insists she is much stronger in the 50m and 100m – races she won gold in at Beijing 2008 – than the 200m.
Or at least she tells herself that so she can be realistic when it comes to medalling, she said.
In both the 50m and 100m, Miranda ranks second in the world this year behind the Netherlands’ Lisette Teunissen, so she will be the highest-ranked swimmer in those events in Guadalajara.
In the 200m, she currently ranks third in the world behind Teunissen and the USA’s Cheryl Angelelli, who will not be competing in Guadalajara.
So on paper, Miranda could potentially perform a clean sweep next month in her home country.
In preparation for Guadalajara, Miranda has been swimming an average of five to seven kilometres per day in addition to working out at the gym.
She is balancing all of that with her duties for the Mexican government. Miranda is the acting general deputy of Veracruz, which means she is in charge of three governmental committees: Youth in Sport, No Discrimination and Vulnerable Groups.
As someone who has achieved greatness in both sport and public administration, there is nobody better than Miranda to represent Mexico as one of the faces of the host nation at the Parapan American Games.