“It is always great to compete in front of your home crowd. It is special and gives you more strength while lifting the bar.”
Three-time Paralympic champion Amalia Perez, Rio 2016 bronze medallist Catalina Diaz Vilchis and Parapan American champion Jose de Jesus Castillo Castillo may be Mexico’s biggest powerlifting medal hopes for this year’s World Championships, from 30 September-6 October.
But Parapans bronze medallist Mayra Hernandez has proven in more than one occasion that she is also ready to cause an upset, especially when competing on home soil.
In 2015, the 26-year-old topped the podium in the women’s up to 45kg at the Americas Open Championships in Mexico City. Earlier this year, she again shone in the Mexican capital city by claiming silver at the National Competition, this time in the up to 50kg category.
“It is always great to compete in front of your home crowd. It is special and gives you more strength while lifting the bar,” said Hernandez. “The World Championships will be different, though. Better. It is so satisfying for me, incredible.
“I am extremely happy because competing at Mexico City 2017 is another achievement. It is always good to know that everything you do with hard work and love pays off.”
Her category is a competitive one, with Ukraine’s Rio 2016 gold medallist Lidiia Soloviova, Egypt’s Rehab Ahmed and Vietnam’s Dang Thi Linh Phuong as the strong favourites for gold.
“I want to set a new personal best and finish among the top seven powerlifters,” she said. Hernandez’s will have it hard as she lifted 78kg at the 2017 National Competition, while Kazakhstan’s Gulbanu Abdykhalykova cleared the bar at 81kg to finish seventh at Rio 2016.
“Mexico is a country with athletes who year after year have been improving their personal bests,” she said.
Further ahead, Hernandez dreams of qualifying for her first Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in three-years-time. “Since the new Paralympic cycle started that I have had this goal. It is my biggest dream.”
The Mexico City 2017 World Para Swimming Championships will take place from 30 September-6 October.