Colombian swimmer Maria Paula Barrera was selected by the public as Americas ‘Athlete of the Month’ after winning six golds, one silver and one bronze at the Sao Paulo 2017 Youth Parapan American Games.
The 15-year-old burst onto the international scene when she won two golds and two bronzes at the Santiago 2014 Para South American Games.
One year later, she took part in a training camp in Brazil run by the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and supported by the Brazilian Paralympic Committee and Rio 2016.
Later in 2015, Barrera reached six finals at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
In the public polls, she finished first with an overwhelming 75 per cent of the votes, followed by Chile´s powerlifter Marion Serrano (15 per cent) and Mexico´s swimmer Raul Gutierrez (7 per cent).
Brazil´s swimmer Matheus Ribeiro and Aruba´s track and field athlete Shenely Tromp were also nominated.
The nominations are compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) from the continent.
The 2017 Americas Athlete of the Month winners so far are:
• January – Gustavo Fernandez, Argentina, wheelchair tennis
• February – Alexander Cataldo, Chile, wheelchair tennis
• March – Maria Paula Barrera, Colombia, swimming