Honduras and the Dominican Republic are hoping new aspiring Paralympians can emerge from the Youth Parapan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 20-25 March.
The last time Honduras competed at the Youth Parapan American Games was in Bogota, Colombia, in 2009. Back then, the Central American country won bronze in the men’s 400m T11 through Luis Carlos Hernandez Oliva.
He went on to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where he competed in the men’s 800m T12.
Powerlifter Allanis Galo (men’s up to 67kg), judoka Walter Reyes (men’s -60kg) and swimmer Samaria Segura (women’s 50m freestyle S9) will be the country’s three representatives at Sao Paulo 2017. They are hoping to win Honduras’ first Youth Parapan gold medal.
Honduras made their Paralympic debut at Atlanta 1996 and have competed at every Games since. They have never won a medal at a Paralympic or Parapan American Games.
Four years ago, Dominican Republic sent only two athletes to the Youth Parapan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with track and field athlete Starling Pimentel Rosario claiming the country’s two golds in the men’s 200m T45/46 and long jump T44/46.
But Dominican Republic have high hopes ahead of Sao Paulo 2017 as they will have a delegation made up of around 20 athletes across three sports: athletics, sitting volleyball and swimming.
The country made its Paralympic debut at Barcelona 1992. The only Dominican athlete to win a medal in history was track and field athlete Robert Jimenez, who claimed gold in the men’s 200m T12 at Atlanta 1996.
Dominican Republic also won three medals at Parapan American Games, one silver and one bronze at Guadalajara 2011 and another bronze at Toronto 2015.
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.