Mexico’s athletics coach Emmanuel Campos aims high

#TeamAgitos coach dreams of seeing one of his pupils winning a Paralympic gold. 16 Aug 2016
A young boy throwing a javelin

Mexico’s 18-year-old Eliezer Gabriel Buenaventura took part in an Agitos Foundation training camp in 2015, which helped him qualify for September’s Paralympic Games.

ⒸAgitos Foundation
By Agitos Foundation

“Sports provide people with impairment with many benefits. They interact with other people with their same interests and motivate them to achieve great things."

Mexican coach Emmanuel Campos was unaware of how to train people with impairments in his physical education class until he met Paralympic gold medallist Estela Salas Marin, who introduced him to the Paralympic Movement.

Since then, Campos has become an active promoter of Para sports in his country as a catalyst for social change and national development.

“At first, I had students with hearing impairment, cerebral palsy and motor impairment, but did not know what physical activities they could conduct,” said Campos.

“I did some research and discovered the Paralympic Movement, a magical revelation to me, thanks to Mexico’s Estela Salas Marin, who won gold in the women's shot put F32-34/52/53 at Athens 2004.

“Since then, I started not only to coach the pupils I already had but to identify new promising athletes. Now I train 25, many of whom have national and international standout performances.”

In 2015, 37-year-old Campos took part in a training camp in Sao Paulo, Brazil, supported by the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Over the last 18 months, 155 athletes, coaches and classifiers from 23 countries, including Campos, have benefitted from expert training provided during the Road to Rio 2016: Agitos Foundation Sessions. Organised in partnership with the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and Brazilian Paralympic Committee, the sessions aimed to improve coaching and Para sport standards as part of the legacy of Latin America’s first Paralympic Games.

“It was very rewarding for me to take part in this camp, where I learned so many new things that I could later implement in my trainings,” he said.

“After that, I committed myself to keep encouraging people with impairment to take up sports.

“The Agitos Foundation does an outstanding job introducing the Paralympic Movement to more people every year and raising awareness of Para sport.”

Campos highlights the importance sport has for improving people´s health.

“Sports provide people with impairment with many benefits. They interact with other people with their same interests and motivate them to achieve great things,” he said.

“That is why I consider the Agitos Foundation’s mission so important, fostering maximum professional and personal development.”

Campos does not hesitate when having to recall his fondest memory as a coach so far.

“When Eliezer Gabriel won gold in the men’s javelin throw F46 at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games,” he said.

“The medal ceremony was such a beautiful moment and will always remain in my memory, with the Mexican flag being raised and the national anthem being played.”

Gabriel is one of eight athletes from Latin America whose remarkable stories are being told in a series of powerful short road to Rio 2016 films produced by the Agitos Foundation.

Whilst he keeps working hard, Campos has set his sights on a bigger goal.

“I want one of my athletes to win a Paralympic medal and to be recognised nationally and internationally,” he said.

“Apart from that, I aim to help the Paralympic Movement grow in my country and have many more people with impairment involved in Para sports.”

The Agitos Foundation road to Rio 2016 videos show the compelling stories that exist in Para sport development as part of #TeamAgitos.

Anyone can use #TeamAgitos on social media to show they are part of the team, whether they are fans, athletes, coaches, part of the Paralympic Movement or a partner organisation.