“I want to compete in front of my family and friends, that is something I have always dreamed of. I want them to see me succeed, climb into a podium…I have imagined that since I first got involved with the Paralympic Movement."
Diego Quispe’s career is about to get a huge boost. The 19-year-old is entering the final stages of preparation towards the World Para Powerlifting European Open Championships set to take place in Berck-Sur-Mer, France, between 25 and 29 May.
It will be the Peruvian’s first time competing at a senior international event as he has so far only taken part in the Youth Parapan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in March 2017.
“I am training two hours per day from Mondays till Fridays. I want to reach my maximum potential in order to bring a medal for my country,” said Quispe.
He will contest the men’s up to 54kg against the likes of Nigeria’s reigning Paralympic and world champion Roland Ezuruike and Great Britain’s 2014 world champion Ali Jawad.
The South American nation will be one of 14 non-European countries competing on French soil alongside Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, South Korea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Powerlifting is not a traditionally big sport in Peru and only two athletes have competed in the sport at a Paralympic Games; Juan Chavez at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, and Neil Garcia Trelles at Beijing 2008.
But Quispe aims to change that and believes the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games will serve as a platform. “I want to compete in front of my family and friends, that is something I have always dreamed of,” he said.
“I want them to see me succeed, climb into a podium…I have imagined that since I first got involved with the Paralympic Movement.
“Beyond Lima 2019, I dream with Tokyo 2020.”
Quispe is a huge football fan, with the English Premier League’s Manchester United his favourite team. He even used to practice the sport until few years ago, when he decided to switch to powerlifting.
“Peruvian Paralympic Committee President Lucha Villar suggested [to] me to try the sport. Sao Paulo 2017 gave me the motivation to continue training and representing my country abroad.”
The European Open Championships in Berck-Sur-Mer, France is the first continental competition of 2018. The official website can be found here.