After reaching the 200m, 400m and 800m T36 Paralympic finals four years ago in London, England, Gabriel de Jesus Cuadra Holmann aims to take another leap forward at Rio 2016 and claim Nicaragua´s first Paralympic medal in history.
The 23-year-old started focusing on qualifying for this year´s Paralympic Games “right after competing in London”, and believes the 800m T36 is the event where he is most likely to succeed.
“Rio 2016 will be amazing,” he said. “I am extremely excited to be able to take part in this Games after four years of hard training.
“I believe it will be a sporting party just like London 2012, and I hope to climb onto the podium in the 800m T36 race, my best event, although I know it is going to be extremely difficult.”
Great Britain´s world champion Paul Blake and Algeria´s Sid Ali Bouzourine will be two of his biggest rivals.
“I know it is a very competitive event, but first I want to set personal bests and give my best effort to make my country proud, which is every athlete´s dream,” he said.
“After that, I will start thinking about winning a Paralympic medal. I want to reach the podium, no matter which medal I seal.”
Last year, Cuadra Holmann won Nicaragua´s first two Parapan American medals in Toronto, Canada, after claiming bronze in both the 200m and 400m T36.
“It was such a great event and I had a great performance,” he said.
“I had been dreaming for a long time about a Parapan American medal and finally did it in Toronto.
“And I even ran the 400m T36 under one minute. I clocked 59.96, which was wonderful.”
Cuadra Holmann suffered an injury after returning to Nicaragua, but still made it to the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“Those were very difficult weeks,” he said. “I was trying to recover as fast as possible, but I did not know how I would reach the Worlds.
“It took me some weeks and it was only thanks to a last-minute recovery that I could compete in Doha at my highest level.”
Cuadra Holmann had an excellent performance, setting an Americas record with a time of 2:18.39 on his way to a historic fifth place in the 800m T36.
“It was crazy to achieve that and hopefully I will be able to repeat or better that performance in Rio,” he said.
The Nicaraguan will be joined at Rio 2016 by compatriots Jennifer Maralin Osejo Morales (track and field) and Fernando Acevedo (powerlifting).
“London 2012 was an unforgettable experience and I expect no less from Rio 2016,” said Cuadra Holmann.
“It will be important for Latin America to host its first Paralympic Games and show the world what it is capable of organising.
“I ended competing at the Paralympics four years ago and immediately started focusing on qualifying for Rio. After such a long wait, I cannot wait for the Games to start.”
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.