“It will be great for us Mexicans to host this Para sport event. And having so many people from around the world coming will make it even greater. I imagine winning the title. I truly believe I can do it."
Rio 2016 bronze medallist Catalina Diaz Vilchis is hoping the World Para Powerlifting Championships can help heal the wounds inflicted upon thousands of her compatriots by September’s devastating earthquake in Mexico City.
The 53-year-old believes Para sports can empower and give hope and courage to those affected. “I really expect Mexicans to feel inspire by our performances at the World Championships and find renewed strength to move forward,” said Diaz Vilchis.
The 7.1 magnitude earthquake left hundreds dead and caused major damage to buildings and infrastructure in Mexico City and the surrounding area.
“I remember I was at my boyfriend’s electric workshop when everything started moving. We waited it to end with fear, hoping no building or light pole would fall. People were running and shouting around. It was terrible,” she recalled.
The IPC and Agitos Foundation launched a global fundraising campaign to support UNICEF’s humanitarian efforts in Mexico. To date almost USD 40,000 has been raised.
“I am sure the Worlds will be great, especially [after] everything we went through,” added the Mexican.
The powerlifting competition will take place between 2 and 8 December at the Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium. “It will be great for us Mexicans to host this Para sport event. And having so many people from around the world coming will make it even greater,” she said.
Diaz Vilchis will compete in the women’s up to 86kg against the likes of Jordan’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Tharwh Tayseer Hamdan Alhajaj and Nigeria’s world record-holder Loveline Obiji.
“They are all really good powerlifters, but I will try to show them I am better. I will give the best of myself,” she said. “I imagine winning the title. I truly believe I can do it. Each of us will do their job the day of the competition and we will see who ends up first.
“I am well prepared as I have been training hard. I am not nervous. I do not get afraid anymore at powerlifting events after so many years competing. I have enough experience.
“What I do feel each time I compete is like butterflies in my stomach, but not fear. It will be very special to show what I can do in front of the Mexican people.”
More information is available on Mexico City 2017’s website.