“I never underestimate my opponents. If you qualify for the Paralympic Games, it means you are already a hard-to-beat athlete.”
Double-Parapan American champion Lorenzo Perez Escalona seeks to win Cuba’s first swimming Paralympic gold medal in history at Rio 2016.
The 30-year old won one silver in the 50m freestyle S6 and one bronze in the 100m freestyle S6 at London 2012.
Now, Perez Escalona feels prepared to take another leap forward and become Paralympic champion.
“I want to achieve what I could not in 2012: to climb the highest step of the Paralympic podium,” he said.
“I have been preparing for Rio 2016 for a long time and am much more experienced than I was in London, from where I left with a bitter taste. However, I feel confident that the story will be different this time and I will win the gold medal.
“I believe Rio is going to host the best Paralympic Games in history.”
Even though he did not meet the objectives he had previously set for London 2012, Perez Escalona recalls that Games as “the biggest event I have ever been to and the best experience I have ever lived as an athlete.
“I vividly remember each of my races and the emotion I felt when winning my so far two only Paralympic medals,” he said.
“These achievements are the reward for a life-long effort and a dream come true.”
Last year, Perez Escalona won two golds at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, where he also lowered Sweden’s Anders Olsson’s 100m freestyle S6 world record by 0.85 seconds (1:04.60).
“I have never felt as good as in Toronto, where I was at the prime of my abilities,” he said.
“Winning two golds was within my plans for the Parapan Am Games. I also expected to win gold in the 50m freestyle S6, but Colombia’s Nelson Crispin performed better than me and touched in first.
“Breaking the world record has shown me what I can achieve and made me believe that I can even set another one in the near future.”
With 100 days to go until Rio 2016, Lorenzo Perez is ready for the challenge.
“I never underestimate my opponents. If you qualify for the Paralympic Games, it means you are already a hard-to-beat athlete,” he said.
“I am used to giving the best I can in all of my trainings towards every event, even if it is a national or the Paralympics. That is what gives me confidence when competing and what makes me keep dreaming of winning the gold in Rio.”
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.