“This recognition makes me very happy, but it is not only for me but for all those who have supported me along the way."
Fresh from winning his maiden world title in London, Great Britain, Mauricio Valencia is already making plans for the remaining of the current Paralympic cycle.
In two-years-time, he will be seeking to claim not only his second World Championships gold, but also the Parapan American title in Lima, Peru.
The two silver medals he won at the latest edition in Toronto, Canada, in 2015, still remain a thorn for the Rio 2016 champion.
“At the last Parapan Am Games, I only achieved two silver medals in the men’s shot put F32/33/34 and javelin F34/57. It was a very difficult competition and, despite being happy for adding two silvers to Colombia’s medal haul, I still believe I could do more,” he said.
Different had been the story in 2011, when Valencia took one gold at the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, one of the first international competitions he took part in.
“At Lima 2019, as at Guadalajara 2011, I know I will achieve my goal. I am highly motivated, have not had any major injuries in my career, I am working very hard and have the help of my coach and my entire team,” he said.
Last week, the 29-year-old was selected by the public as ‘Americas Athlete of July’ following his great performance at London 2017.
“This recognition makes me very happy, but it is not only for me but for all those who have supported me along the way,” he said. “For me it is a great honour to represent my country and try to do it the best I can, getting stronger every day and giving it all the day of the competition.
“I try to always be strong and well-prepared for every competition, as every athlete wants to be I assume. It is huge for me to have been able to win every possible big competition on the Paralympic cycle, being those the Paralympics, the World Championships and the Parapans.
“Now I want to focus on training hard in order to win the javelin, shot put and discus throw events at Lima 2019. That’s my next big goal.”
More information is available on Lima 2019’s website.