Amalia Perez talks retirement, lead-up to Tokyo 2020

Mexico’s three-time Paralympic gold medallist gives an insight into her plans ahead of her fifth Paralympic Games. 25 May 2017
A picture of a powerlifter on a bench celebrating

Amalia Perez of Mexico celebrates winning gold in the Women's 60kg Powerlifting at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

Ⓒgetty images

After winning three Paralympic and two world titles, Mexico’s world record holding powerlifter Amalia Perez is still hungry for more success, despite her age of 46 years.

Showing age is no barrier Perez is training hard for her home World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City later this year. She is also planning which events she will tackle ahead of Tokyo 2020 and has lined up an assault on the European Open title in one year’s time.

“Although there is nothing better than winning gold at a World Championships or Paralympic Games, as an athlete you always want to represent your country the best way you can at every competition,” Perez said.

“So after the Worlds I want to participate in as many events as possible to continue testing myself against the many rising stars in powerlifting in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020.

“The European Open Para Powerlifting Championships in Berck, France, and the Para Powerlifting Americas Open Championships in Cartagena, Colombia, will be held next year. Hopefully, I will have the chance to take part in competitive events to reach the Paralympics in top form.

“Then I have the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, in 2019, and Tokyo 2020. The Paralympics seem a bit too far now, but time flies!”

Last September at Rio 2016, Perez broke the world record to secure her third Paralympic gold, this time in the women’s up to 55kg class. She followed this up with a win at May’s World Cup in Eger, Hungary, and is now fully focused on winning her third world title.

“Competing in front of my home crowd, my family and friends will be very special and motivates me a lot,” she said. “I want to top the podium, show all Mexicans what Para athletes can do, make them happy and inspire them to take up powerlifting.

“Sports help you become a better and healthier person. I cannot say but positive things about sports.”

Amongst her biggest rivals for gold is Nigeria’s Esther Oyema, who lifted only three kilograms less than Perez in Rio to claim Paralympic silver.

“The younger generations are coming strong. It was not easy for me to beat Oyema at Rio 2016, which is why even at my age I have to think of improving,” said Perez.

“Nigeria is a very strong country, but many different countries are becoming more professionalised and I am sure someone will break my world record of 130kg in the short term.”

After a long and successful career, Perez is aware that retirement may not be far off.

“I will continue competing until Tokyo 2020, that is for sure,” she said. “From then on, I will see if I have injuries, how I am feeling and what is best.”

The World Para Powerlifting Championships will take place in Mexico City from 30 September-6 October, with more than 360 powerlifters from 65 countries competing in the Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium.

The 2018 European Open Para Powerlifting Championships will take place in Berck, France, from 25-30 May, with around 250 athletes from 40 countries expected to compete.