“Despite the positive results we had in the past few years, we always want more.“
Brazil’s two-time Paralympic and world champion Jefinho Goncalves has spoken about his team’s aspirations for the year ahead, revealing their primary objective is winning gold at the August’s Parapan American Games in Toronto, Canada.
Should Jefinho win gold in Toronto it will be his third Parapan title, having won gold with the team in 2007 in Rio, Brazil, and 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Our preparation has begun already,” the 25-year-old told www.paralympic.org. “After all, we have a huge challenge in 2015. Winning gold at the Parapan American Games is our main goal this year.”
Brazil’s preparation comes not long after their victory at November 2014’s IBSA Blind Football World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Thanks to a 1-0 win over rivals Argentina, Brazil secured a record fourth world title.
“Without a doubt, my personal highlight in 2014 was our fourth World Championship title,” said Jefinho who, in 2010, was named world player of the year. “It was a really tough competition to which we dedicated ourselves and the result came. We celebrated it a lot.”
It was an extra-time goal from the boot of Jefinho that won the game and the title for Brazil, leading to jubilant scenes on the pitch in Tokyo.
"An entire movie went through my mind, when I scored the goal. I dedicated myself and worked as hard as I could since the beginning of the year to get to the World Championship 100 per cent prepared. When I scored, the joy of being decisive and contributing to the title got to me. It was amazing."
Brazil are currently enjoying a long period of dominance in blind football. They are the only team to have won Paralympic gold since the sport was introduced at Athens 2004 and are hunting a fourth consecutive title at Rio 2016. Jefingo attributes their success to their insatiable appetite the team has for more wins.
“Despite the positive results we had in the past few years, we always want more. Each title makes us even more motivated to go after more wins. The work, the dedication and the passion we have for what we do is what makes the difference.”
Looking further ahead, Brazil will have the opportunity to play on home soil when the Paralympics Games take place in Rio in 2016. While there is still some time to go before real preparations begin, Jefinho says the team are already keeping the Games in mind.
“Of course we think about the Paralympics in Rio. We use every tournament as a way of preparing ourselves to arrive in Rio in the best shape possible and with great chemistry. That’s why we give our best in each game, because up ahead, in the Paralympics, we know the details will make a difference and decide our result.”
The Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games will take place between 7-15 August. Around 1,600 athletes from 28 countries will compete in 15 sports and all will be qualifiers for Rio 2016.