"We are very grateful because it is the first event of this kind we have in our country. I think we all have the philosophy that being Mexican is about having great pride and this involves the highest responsibility, so we are putting all our effort in the gym to give our best for this great country."
Four Mexican powerlifters preparing for the upcoming 2015 IPC Powerlifting Americas Open Championships in Mexico City from 26-29 April have spoken of the excitement and importance of having a major international competition at home.
Paralympic Games and World Championships medallists Amalia Perez, Laura Cerero, Perla Barcenas and Jose Castillo told media on Wednesday (15 April) about the importance of Mexico City 2015, which will be the first Americas Open Championships in the history of IPC Powerlifting. It is also a key qualification stop for Rio 2016.
Barcenas, who has seven Paralympic and Worlds medals to her name and competes in the women’s up to 86kg, said: "We are very grateful because it is the first event of this kind we have in our country. I think we all have the philosophy that being Mexican is about having great pride and this involves the highest responsibility, so we are putting all our effort in the gym to give our best for this great country."
Mexico City 2015 will feature over 120 athletes from 25 countries, including 36 powerlifters from Mexico. It is the first of three regional Championships taking place in 2015, with the others scheduled for Europe, in Eger, Hungary and Asia in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Paralympic and world champion Perez believes that the Americas Open will give people in Mexico a new perspective on para-sport, as she prepares to line-up in the women’s up to 61kg.
"There is quality, discipline and a multidisciplinary group behind each one of us - a physician, psychologist, therapist, nutritionist, and a coach and the authorities who are managers so we can be ready, training nearly three daily hours in the gym,” she said. “It is superficial if one takes into account everything that is done in the day.”
Men’s up to 88kg World Championships bronze medallist Castillo feels that the home crowds will give him an extra incentive to perform well: "The effort and commitment is greater because your family and friends will be watching. It’s your people, it's your country and you do it with more enthusiasm, more momentum, because you do not want to look bad and you want to give a good result."
Cerero reflected on the importance of Mexico City 2015 as a qualifier for the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, where she will be competing in the women’s up to 45kg.
"As an athlete it is important because we will have a warmup prior to a major competition, which are the Parapan American Games and also to our colleagues, who will have the opportunity to compete in this event. It is an honour to represent our country at home,” she said.
Running alongside Mexico City 2015, IPC Powerlifting will stage training courses for referees, coaches and classifiers, with the aim of strengthening the support networks for athletes and competition structures in the region towards Rio 2016.
Jose Angel Flores, from the Mexican Paralympic Committee, said that they will be using the training to develop the sport nationally for the future: "The goal is to have classifiers, specialised judges and Mexican coaches in this discipline."
Mexico City 2015 begins on 26 April and will be shown live at the event website.
The 2015 IPC Powerlifting Asian Open in Almaty, Kazakhstan takes place between 26-30 July and the 2015 IPC Powerlifting European Open in Eger, Hungary, runs from 24-28 November.