Making Paralympic sport advance even further in 2024 is one of the objectives of the Paralympic Sports Center of the Deputy Sports Secretariat. Last year, to give you an idea of the athletes’ achievements, 86 medals were won in regional and national competitions.
And for the results to be even better, the Paralympic Sports Center, coordinated by professor Shirley Lessa, has already started preparing the athletes. And based on a partnership between the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (SEE), the Federal University of Acre (Ufac) and the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB), training has already started.
Swimming, bocce, athletics, fut 7 and weightlifting are among the sports that Paralympic athletes have already started preparing for. The Ufac swimming pool, running track and gym are the places where training takes place so that they can participate in competitions on an equal footing with other states.
According to professor Shirley Lessa, athletes’ preparation takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 2pm to 5pm. “We prepare athletes for national competitions, but also for international competitions, as we have athletes at an international level here”, she explains.
These are athletes who have some physical, intellectual and visual disability, which could be low vision or complete blindness. She explains that, for competitions, athletes range in age from 7 to 17 years old. As for the meeting, which will be held on the 24th, in Rio Branco, there is no age limit.
“At the meeting we have older athletes and we have vacancies, and anyone interested in doing a sport just look for us here at Ufac on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 2 pm”, he highlighted.
She says she is delighted with the results of the athletes at national level and says that they participated in the regional phase of the Paralympic games last year in the city of Brasília and the national phase, in São Paulo. “I am delighted. We traveled with 9 athletes and brought back 17 medals from one competition alone,” she said.
Athlete training not only develops the physical aspect, but also the social aspect. One of the good examples is Rikley Sampaio, who learned to swim in a few days and prepared for three months to participate in competitions. The result was a bronze medal, in swimming, at the national stage in São Paulo.
Rikley’s mother, Dona Gleiciane Sampaio, highlights that he has acquired what she calls “independence”. Before, she says, the athlete depended on everything at home, even to eat. He has cerebral palsy and until the last day before the trip he was afraid to allow him to travel to the competitions.
“But today my feeling is gratitude. He was very dependent, he didn’t even walk, he walked. With swimming he improved his motor coordination and even eats alone. He became really independent,” he reports.