"Of course, I imagine myself winning gold and celebrating with my family and friends. It would make me very proud to represent Mexico in Peru."
Claudia Romero is one of Mexico’s top medal prospects ahead of the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games. At only 18 years old, the taekwondo fighter has already achieved multiple titles.
In 2017, Romero ended second in the women’s up to 49kg K44 division at the World Championships in London, Great Britain.
Earlier this year, she won her second Pan American gold medal following a decisive victory over Peru’s Leonor Espinoza Carranza.
With taekwondo making its Parapan Am debut in Lima, Romero is already training hard to reach her best form ahead of the continent’s biggest competition.
“I practice three times per day, including technical, physical and psychological trainings,” she explained. “I need to prepare well and in advance in order to win a medal.”
However, Romero prefers to remain cautious and go step by step. “I have to attend the qualifiers, perform well and climb in the rankings to make it to Lima 2019. There is still a long way to go.
“But, of course, I imagine myself winning gold and celebrating with my family and friends. It would make me very proud to represent Mexico in Peru. I can only achieve that, though, if I continue making big sacrifices on the tatami, both at trainings and competitions.
“This will be my first Parapan American Games. So I need to stay calm and maintain a winning-attitude. I watched previous editions and could see how tough competitions are across all sports. You need to give it all to have a chance to reach the top of the podium.”
Following her victory at last month’s Para Taekwondo Pan Ams, Romero was chosen by the public as Americas ‘Athlete of the Month’ ahead of well-known athletes such as Brazil’s Elizabeth Gomes, Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and USA’s Allysa Seely.
“I feel so happy and excited for having won this award; I did not expect it,” she said. “It is another achievement in my sporting career and a huge motivation to continue working hard.”