“Whenever I can I try to come and talk to the young athletes. I want to show them what they are capable of, the same way I had the chance to do. It’s really gratifying. I feel proud to go to the World Championships represent all of them.”
He may be Brazil’s most decorated Para swimmer, but Daniel Dias still appreciates an extra boost from fans ahead of this week’s World Championships. Before making the trip to Mexico City, Dias gave young athletes the chance to meet their idol when he visited the Brazilian Para School Games in Sao Paulo.
“I didn’t have the chance to take part in an event like this when I started. But today I feel very happy to see an event this big with so many young talents. This is one the things we have always fought for, the opportunity for a new generation of athletes to have a place like the Training Centre in Sao Paulo to develop,” said Dias.
During his visit the 14-time Paralympic champion had the chance to meet young athletes such as 14 year old Isaac de Jesus who competed in the Para School Games for the first time. The young swimmer could not believe his eyes when he realised who was behind him during a TV interview.
“I follow Daniel Dias on social media, he is my biggest inspiration,” said De Jesus.
“Whenever I can I try to come and talk to the young athletes. I want to show them what they are capable of, the same way I had the chance to do. It’s really gratifying. I feel proud to go to the World Championships represent all of them,” said Dias.
The World Para Swimming Championships that start on Saturday will be the fifth of Dias’ career. He says this one is even more important since it represents the beginning of a new cycle towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“I don’t know for how long I will still be competing but I will be in Tokyo for sure. Now it is time to keep up with the good work and I hope to take back a lot of great results to Brazil.”
While the postponement of the World Championships due to the earthquake near the Mexican Capital in September affected his preparations, the Brazilian swimmer is confident it will not impact on his performances.
“My planning was all focusing on that moment and of course it changes our preparations but this is not going to be an excuse. I go to the water always to give my best.”
More information about the World Para Swimming Championships is available on Mexico City 2017’s website.