Peru’s Leonor Espinoza Carranza set to take centre stage at home event30 Aug 2019
Leonor Espinoza Carranza was Peru's flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony
By Lee Reaney and the IPC
Para taekwondo will debut at a Parapan American Games on Friday in Peru, and the hosts' very-own Leonor Espinoza Carranza is set to bring joy to her nation.
Carranza carried the Peruvian flag during the Opening Ceremony, and now the former Pan American champion will get to show why she had that honour when she takes on the women’s up to 49 kg.
“My main objective is not only to have an outstanding participation and represent Peru but to make it to the highest [stage] of the podium,” Carranza said. “We need the support of all Peruvian fans to feel at home and collect many medals.”
Ranked No. 8 in the division, Carranza is the No. 2 seed in Lima and will need to get by Mexico’s Claudia Romero if she hopes to claim Parapan Am gold.
Currently ranked No. 4 in the division, Romero could clinch her country a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with a win in Lima.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic spots on the line
Para taekwondo competition at Lima 2019 is a G-4 event, meaning division winners can earn 40 rankings points toward Tokyo 2020, where the sport will make its Paralympic debut. The top four K44 and top two K43 fighters in the rankings at the end of the year earn automatic qualification slots for their countries.
World champions Juan Diego Garcia Lopez (Mexico) and Debora Menezes (Brazil) also highlight the list of 47 fighters from 16 countries competing for medals in six divisions in Lima – and Tokyo 2020 hopes.
Brazil’s world champion and No. 2-ranked Menezes could distance herself from the No. 3 ranked fighter in the women’s over 58 kg K44 division. It is been a big year for Menezes – besides her World Championship, she has picked up titles at the Oceania Open Championships and US Open.
Mexico’s world champion Lopez could move up to No. 2 in the men’s up to 75 kg K44 division with Parapan Am gold. It would cap a remarkable year for the young Mexican, who started the year ranked No. 5 and 160 points behind the No. 2 ranked fighter.
The men’s under 61 kg division could present interesting duels. Canada’s Anthony Cappello (No. 3 in K43) could face Brazil’s Nathan Torquato (No. 8 in K44) or Argentina’s A. Novik (No. 10 in K44).
A win in the women’s up to 58 kg K44 division by the USA’s No. 5-ranked Brianna Salinaro would move her to No. 3 with just one rankings tournament left on the calendar. It has been a rough year for Salinaro, who started the year at No. 2 in the rankings.
She will have to get by Mexico’s Jessica Garcia Quijano, who needs to win both the Parapan Ams and European Open Championships in October for any chance of qualifying for Tokyo through rankings.
In the men’s up to 61 kg K44 division, Brazil’s Nathan Torquato could move up with a win and position him 16 points out of Tokyo 2020, with 20 points up for grabs at the European Open.
The USA’s Evan Medell could move to No. 1 in the world rankings in the men’s over 75 kg K44 division with a victory, which would be Medell’s biggest to date.
The last chance for fighters to earn rankings points to directly qualify for next year’s Paralympics is the European Open Championships on 31 October in Bari, Italy.