Rodriguez dreams of winning gold at Rio 2016Cyclist Jose Frank Rodriguez seeks to win Dominican Republic’s second Paralympic gold in Rio. 13 Sep 2016
Twenty years after Robert Jimenez won Dominican Republic’s first and so far only Paralympic gold in Atlanta, USA, cyclist Jose Frank Rodriguez will be competing in Rio hoping to claim the second.
The 38-year-old, currently ranked world No.14 in the C5 class, received a bipartite invitation and is set to take part in his first Paralympic Games this September.
“I felt very emotional, a bit worried and satisfied when I was informed that I was going to compete at Rio 2016. My heart jumped for joy,” he said.
Rodriguez feels honoured and proud representing his country on the international stage once more.
“It is the world’s biggest sporting event and will be a truly unique experience in my life. I have been preparing physically and mentally to compete at my best in Rio,” he said.
“Participating at the Paralympics is a great pleasure and comes along with a big amount of responsibility. I am looking forward to race on behalf of my family and my country in the best possible way.”
In Rio, Rodriguez will compete in the road race and the time trial C5 events.
“This is my first Paralympic Games, which is why my first goal is to give my best. I am confident because of the training and preparation I have had,” he said.
Australia’s world No. 1 Alistair Donohoe, China’s Asian champion Xin Yang Liu and Ukraine’s London 2012 gold medallist Yehor Dementyev are only three of the many strong contenders Rodriguez will run against in Rio.
“It would be awesome to step on the podium, but at the same time I know it will be very difficult and physically challenging since I will compete against the world’s best,” he said.
“On the other hand, dreaming is priceless. A Paralympic podium would definitely be fantastic.”
But Rodriguez dreams to be known in his country, not only for his sporting achievements, but also for his values.
“I want to leave a legacy as a man who has worked very hard on a daily basis in order to reach the highest possible level through team work,” he said.
“I really believe that if we have more people involved in the Paralympic Movement, the conditions in our society will improve a lot.
“Organising the first Paralympic Games in Latin America is a first big step ahead and will help build strong foundations and identified new promising talents in Para sports.”