“Our delegation needs to remain optimistic, our youngsters are very talented. The focus is not on winning but on educating and training high performance athletes for the future."
After leaving as the most decorated nation at Bogota 2009 and Buenos Aires 2013, Brazil are favourite to repeat such feat at a third consecutive Youth Parapan American Games on home soil in Sao Paulo, between 20-25 March.
Brazil’s delegation will be made up of over 170 athletes across all 12 sports. But the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB) aims not just to top the medals table but to identify young promising athletes in the lead-up to the next major Para sport events.
Amongst the main medal hopes is 19-year-old table tennis player Danielle Rauen, who took Paralympic bronze in the women’s team classes 6-10 alongside Bruna Costa Alexandre and Jennyfer Marques, in Rio.
Chef de Mission Jonas Freire said: “Our delegation needs to remain optimistic, our youngsters are very talented. The focus is not on winning but on educating and training high performance athletes for the future. But I understand the title must stay with Brazil again.”
Many athletes who competed at Buenos Aires 2013 went on to qualify for Rio 2016, such as Paralympic athletics silver medallist Mateus Evangelista and Rio swimming bronze medallist Italo Pereira.
“As it happened in previous editions of the Youth Parapans, we want to have athletes from Sao Paulo 2017 competing at Tokyo 2020 and the 2024 Paralympics,” said Freire.
It will be the first major competition held at the Brazilian Paralympic Centre, which was opened in May 2016.
Around 1,000 athletes, aged 12-20 years old, from 20 countries are expected to participate in Sao Paulo, with 12 sports being contested: athletics, boccia, football 5, football 7, goalball, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.
Buenos Aires 2013 attracted more than 600 athletes from 16 countries, who competed across 10 sports. Brazil topped the medal table and 15 countries reached the podium at least once.
Barquisimeto, Venezuela, staged the inaugural edition in 2005, with athletes from 10 countries competing, whilst a total of 14 countries attended the event in Bogota, Colombia, in 2009.
For more information, visit Sao Paulo 2017’s website.