Lima 2019: Damian Carcelen targets first Parapan title

Ecuadorian athlete hopes success can spur him on to Tokyo 21 Aug 2018
a Para sprinter runs towards the finish line

Damian Carcelen won silver at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships

ⒸMike Hewitt - Getty Images
By Natalia Calderon and the APC

“When you love yourself, there are no barriers that can stop you. Only your will separates you from your goals.”

Damian Carcelen gives Ecuador many reasons to dream big ahead of Tokyo 2020. The South American country has never reached the podium at a Paralympic Games. But that may very well change in two years’ time based on the 20-year-old’s recent performances.

Carcelen ended eighth in the men’s 400m T20 at his maiden Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016 and has continued improving since.

The youngster won one gold and one silver at the Youth Parapans and two junior world titles in 2017, apart from an historic silver medal in the 400m at the London 2017 World Championships.

“Looking ahead, I must continue performing well in order to arrive in Tokyo as a favourite to win a medal,” said Carcelen. “I want to win gold at Tokyo 2020.”

Many things can happen between now and then. Next year Carcelen will compete at his second Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, which he considers fundamental in his preparation for Tokyo 2020.

Three years ago, he finished fourth in the long jump T20 at the last edition in Toronto, Canada.

“Lima 2019 is extremely important for me and I have been training very hard together with my coach with the Parapans in mind,” he said.

“I am working day after day giving my best in each training. I want to lower my times, represent my country properly and achieve qualification for the 2020 Paralympic Games.

“Performing well at Lima 2019 will surely motivate me further in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020.”

Brazil’s Paralympic and world champion Daniel Martins appears as Carcelen’s strongest contender for gold on Peruvian soil.

“He is very fast, but I am confident of reaching his level and win the medal that all Ecuadorians want to win,” added Carcelen.

“After winning silver at London 2017 I understood that achieving your dreams may be difficult but not impossible. It requires hard work, a huge sacrifice and discipline both from you and your coaches

“When you love yourself, there are no barriers that can stop you. Only your will separates you from your goals.”