Salvadoran swimmer Fernando Fuentes has been chosen as Americas ‘Athlete of the Month’ for January after receiving 47.28 per cent of the public vote.
The 17-year-old claimed quadruple gold in the men’s 50m backstroke; 50m and 100m freestyle; and 50m butterfly S9 at the Managua 2018 Para Central American Games, leaving as El Salvador’s most decorated athlete of the Games.
“This means a lot to me, I was surprised when they even nominated me to become Americas ‘Athlete of the Month’,” said Fuentes.
“When I was informed that I had won, my family and I were so happy. It is a big achievement, an opportunity to continue improving, fighting for my dreams and never giving up on them.
“I felt so good and calm when competing at the Para Central American Games. After winning my first gold, I felt like crying. It was a great feeling as never before, an unforgettable experience for me. Now I am hoping to qualify for the Lima 2019 Parapans and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.”
Nicaragua’s Parapan American athletics bronze medallist and two-time Paralympian Gabriel Cuadra Holmann, who shone in front of his home crowd at Managua 2018 by winning two golds, ended closely behind with 46.94 per cent of the votes in a thrilling hard-fought poll closing.
“I want to congratulate Fernando and send him my best regards. I want to thank everyone who voted for me and the Americas Paralympic Committee for this opportunity,” said Holmann.
Nordic skiers Brian McKeever of Canada and Oksana Masters of the USA, and track and field athletes Enrique Ornano of Panama and Oscar Raxon of Guatemala were also nominated.
The nominations are compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) from across the continent.
The 2018 Americas Athlete of the Month winner is:
• January – Fernando Fuentes, El Salvador, swimming