Sydney 2018: Carlos Neme’s dream fulfilledColombian One to Watch thrilled to compete at wheelchair rugby Worlds 30 Jul 2018
“I think it is the dream of every athlete because it is the second most important event after the Paralympic Games, so it is a dream fulfilled thanks to God and the work done.”
An emotional Carlos Neme was overcome with joy when Colombia’s wheelchair rugby team booked their place at the 2018 World Championship in Sydney, Australia.
The 1.0 classified player was a vital cog in the Colombian side, making the all-tournament team in their top-four finish at the World Championships qualifier in Nottwil, Switzerland, in April.
Colombia battled Poland for bronze and fell 55-53 in double-overtime.
Having taken up the wheelchair rugby eight years ago, Neme is delighted to be getting his first taste of the sport on the world stage.
“I think it is the dream of every athlete because it is the second most important event after the Paralympic Games, so it is a dream fulfilled thanks to God and the work done,” Neme said.
“I feel very excited to play against other teams for the first time and be able to win.”
“We have been working very hard since we won the spot to the World Championships in Switzerland.
“Since that, we have been training with a lot of physical, technical and tactical work of up to seven hours daily.
“Everything has been accompanied by an excellent staff team to have an excellent physical, mental and emotional preparation.
“There was also an important investment in the acquisition of new sports chairs for some team members, so I think it is a combination of many things.”
Targeting top six
Neme said the side haven’t put too much internal pressure on themselves heading into their Worlds debut but will be as well prepared as possible.
“We believe a lot in the work done, in the physical and mental preparation of the team and in the analysis of rivals because we have never played against most of them,” he said.
“We always have huge respect for the opponent, but we have a great confidence in the results we have projected to get.
“We hope to finish in the top six in the tournament.
“It means being able to convince ourselves that we have much more to show to the other countries of the world.
“We must consolidate 11 years of teamwork to be in the World Championship within the 12 strongest teams and represent the teams of South America with our flag.”
It will be the first time any members of the Colombian team have been to Australia, but spectators can expect them to bring a strong brand of rugby to the tournament.
“I consider Colombia a very close team and physically strong, with the passionate characteristics of Latinos,” Neme said.
“But above all, we are a team with many tactical resources to solve any situation and learn quickly from mistakes.”
Colombia begins the event against one of the tournaments favourites, the USA, on 5 August, with further pool matches against France, Poland, Great Britain and Canada to follow.
The Championship runs at Sydney Olympic Park from 5-10 August.