Unicentro student wins medals at the Paralympic Meeting, in Campo Grande (MS)

Unicentro student wins medals at the Paralympic Meeting, in Campo Grande (MS)
Unicentro student wins medals at the Paralympic Meeting, in Campo Grande (MS)
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04/01/2024

Unicentro student wins medals at the Paralympic Meeting, in Campo Grande (MS)

49 gold, 20 silver and three bronze. These are the medals already won in athletics events by Isabella Carla Cordeiro da Silva Francos. At just 22 years old, the academic has taken the name of the Central-West State University (Unicentro) in every competition she goes to. Since 2019, the Paralympic athlete has been studying Pedagogy remotely, at the Open University of Brazil (UAB) in Prudentópolis, and divides her routine between studies, work and training.

Recently, Isabella was in another competition organized by the Brazilian Paralympic Committee. She was one of the 130 athletes who participated in the Loterias Caixa Paralympic Meeting, in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul. Two more medals joined the young woman’s extensive collection – a gold, in the shot put, and another silver, in the throwing disk.

This is the fourth competition she has participated in in 2024, a year that marks a decade since her first athletics event. “Sport came into my life because I always accompanied my father and mother to volleyball training. I went along, but I started to like athletics. My first event was in 2014, in ball throwing, and today I also do shot put, javelin and discus”, says the student.

The proud father and also coach, Marcelo de Ávila Francos, says that his daughter is the only Unicentro athlete in this and the other competitions in which she participated. “Isabella is also one of the youngest on the circuit. Nowadays, she does pilates, gym and technical training. We try to do what we can each week, but always make it clear that she will stay in the sport for as long as she wants, as long as it is good for her”, he reinforces.

Currently, the athlete’s preparation involves five professionals, including a physiotherapist, nutritionist and physical educators. In addition to her father, Isabella’s mother also actively participates in her training routine. “When Isabella started in the sport, we didn’t imagine that it would take on such a large proportion, but her mother and I realized that she is an athlete who is going for high performance and we decided to provide the right conditions for this”, says Marcelo.

In the sixth month of pregnancy, Isabella was diagnosed with occipital encephalocele, a condition that occurs due to the malformation of the neural tube. Shortly after birth, she underwent corrective surgery, which was successful. Over the years, the family spared no effort to provide the young woman with quality of life and independence.

“Few people with the sequelae of encephalocele have the condition that Isabella managed to have, including being an athlete. It’s a diagnosis that has a very strong impact, but at no point did we settle down and, above all, Isabella didn’t settle down. We also had many people who helped us, like teacher Adriane, who was fundamental in this process”, recalls the father.

The professor mentioned by Marcelo is Adriane Meyer Vassão, head of the Inclusion and Accessibility Division at the Irati Campus. She closely followed all of Isabella’s commitment to sports and academic life. “Isabella is dedicated, attentive and motivated to always do her best. She has always sought to reconcile her studies and her sporting goals in her life, she is an example for all of us of overcoming and responsibility”, highlights the teacher.

Isabella has also been receiving support from the university with air and road transport in some competitions, such as the 2021 and 2022 University Paralympics, events in which she was a medalist.

Plans for the future

Like most athletes, Isabella dreams of participating in the Paralympic Games. With her feet on the ground, the student’s goal is to train for a few more years to reach the Olympic marks. “This is my biggest dream. But maybe for 2032, which will be in Australia”, she assesses.

In addition to sports, the university showed other possible paths for academics. “I’m in my 4th year of Pedagogy and after graduation I’m thinking about continuing to compete, but also continue studying. I’m still unsure whether to pursue a postgraduate degree or not. I also really wanted to do a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education”, he shares.

Regardless of the path, the athlete’s desire is to be able to inspire and motivate other people to practice a sport, whatever it may be. “I believe we could have more university representatives in the Paralympic sports world. I precisely want to encourage academics, and not just those who have some type of disability, but for everyone to be inspired by practicing sports”, she concludes.

Text/Photo: Assessoria Unicentro


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Unicentro student wins medals Paralympic Meeting Campo Grande

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