Ecuador and El Salvador aim to improve on their performances at the latest edition of the Youth Parapan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2013 and claim multiple medals at Sao Paulo 2017.
Four years ago, Ecuador won 16 medals overall including seven golds, two silvers and seven bronzes. But, with representatives in athletics, boccia, goalball, swimming and table tennis, the South American nation is confident that it will win even more medals in Sao Paulo.
Last year, Ecuador sent five athletes to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, their biggest delegation ever at a Paralympics since they made their debut at Toronto 1976.
They have also shown improvement on the continental stage, sealing one gold and four bronzes at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games. Four years before, Ecuador could not win any medals in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Central American nation has renewed hope after leaving the 2013 Youth Parapan American Games without any medal and is hoping to reach the podium at least once at Sao Paulo 2017.
There will be Salvadoran athletes in athletics, boccia, powerlifting, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.
Swimmers Fernando Sanchez and Nahomy del Carmen Guevara, and boccia player Rebecca Dayana Duarte are some of the biggest names set to compete in Sao Paulo.
Last Thursday (9 March), El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren presented the national flag to the country’s delegation and said: “Receive on behalf of the entire Salvadoran people the best wishes ahead of this Youth Parapan American competition.
“Your participation in the Sao Paulo Games is a symbol of unity and hope of our nation.”
Around 900 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.