After winning bronze at the World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Lima earlier this month, Niel Garcia Trelles has become Peru’s biggest medal hope in the sport ahead of August’s Parapan American Games.
The 46-year-old knows Lima 2019 will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and wants to make the most of it.
“The World Cup was the first time that my family and my 5-year-old son could watch me winning a medal,” said Garcia Trelles. “I will forever cherish this moment in my heart, even though I did not achieve a personal best as I am keeping my best for Lima 2019.
“I am hoping to lift 150kg at the Parapans, win the gold and qualify for Tokyo 2020. But beyond medals, what matters is representing your country well.”
Garcia Trelles had an accident at nine years old and got his spinal column injured as a result. “I never felt the disability as I had a good childhood. Later on, I got married with a person I adore, had a baby and now I am preparing to compete at Lima 2019.”
He took up powerlifting as a hobby at 15, without even knowing Para sport competitions existed. “At the beginning I competed against able-bodied athletes, beating them and winning national events.”
Looking ahead to next year’s Paralympic Games, Garcia Trelles knows qualifying will not be easy task. But he remains optimistic: “I will make it.”
Lima 2019 will take place between 23 August and 1 September and will feature over 1,800 athletes competing across 17 sports, overtaking Toronto 2015 as the biggest Parapan American Games in history.