Paralympic Games
7-18 September

Eliezer Gabriel Buenaventura never stopped dreaming - #TeamAgitos - on the Road to Rio

More about Eliezer's life as an athlete: https://youtu.be/IFer8Fs04w4

Eliezer Gabriel Buenaventura has gone from one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Veracruz, Mexico to being able to build a house for his family thanks to a gold medal win at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.

The 18-year-old’s family could not afford to buy him clothes or shoes and as a child he sometimes had to walk barefoot. But Buenaventura was not discouraged, yet inspired, by his mother Susana’s every day hard work to bring food to the table.

And even when he was living in a small room with his mother and brother in Veracruz, Buenaventura never stopped dreaming.

In 2015, he took part in a training camp funded by the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and went on to claim gold in the javelin F46 at Toronto 2015.

“After my first two attempts, I was in fourth place, Buenaventura said. “But then I threw 47.67m, set a new Games record and knew that I would almost surely be the champion. Celebrating with my family and friends was just crazy.

“Taking part in the Agitos Foundation training camp helped me improve as an athlete in my preparations for the Parapan Ams and introduced me to people with impairment and the same interests as I.”

Over the last 18 months, 155 athletes, coaches and classifiers from 23 countries, including Buenaventura, 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.

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

Clean, broadcast quality versions of Barrera’s videos are available free of charge to all media. Requests should be submitted to [email protected]mpic.org. The Agitos Foundation must be credited for all use of footage.

The Agitos Foundation road to Rio 2016 videos will feature at least one athlete per week until the 4 August, to show the compelling stories that exist in Para sport development as part of #TeamAgitos. A final video for each athlete will then be published the week before the Rio 2016 Paralympics begin.

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.

More info:
www.agitosfoundation.org.
www.facebook.com/AgitosFoundation or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/agitos.