At only 18 years old, Eliezer Gabriel Buenaventura has rapidly put himself among the world’s best javelin throwers after winning the Parapan American title in Toronto, Canada, and finishing fifth at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, both in 2015.
At Rio 2016, the Mexican will take part in the javelin throw F46 on Tuesday (13 September) and is hoping to make an impact at his first Paralympic Games.
“I want to climb onto the podium in Rio,” he said.
In 2015, Buenaventura was part of training camp funded by the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“Taking part in the Agitos Foundation training camp helped me improve as an athlete in my preparations for the Parapan Ams and introduced me to people with impairment and the same interests as me,” he said.
“With the support of the Agitos Foundation, I dream of making history in my sport.”
Some months after, he went on to claim gold at Toronto 2015, the biggest achievement in his career so far.
“After my first two attempts, I was in fourth place," he said.
“But then I threw 47.67m, set a new Games record and knew that I would almost surely be the champion. Celebrating with my family and friends was just crazy.”
With the Parapan American Games’ prize money, he started building a house for his family after years of living with his mother and brother in a small room in his hometown Veracruz.
“I admire my mum so much because it is thanks to her that my brother Juan Jose and I could have three meals a day when we were little,” he said.
“She devoted her life to us and I will always be thankful to her.”
At Doha 2015, Buenaventura finished fifth with a 51.74m throw, way behind China’s world champion Chunliang Guo (61.89m). But he still remains confident ahead his participation in Rio.
“No matter the colour, any Paralympic medal would be welcomed,” he said.