2023 Parapan American Games Kick Off with Table Tennis
This Thursday morning, the highly anticipated 2023 Parapan American Games will commence at the Ñuñoa Olympic Training Center. The event, set to officially open on Friday, will witness the participation of over 160 national athletes vying for medals. However, just like the recent Pan American Games, the sports competitions will begin a day earlier.
Table Tennis Takes the Spotlight
The international competition will be inaugurated with table tennis matches. Among the talented athletes on the court will be Matías Pino, a representative of the O’Higgins region. Pino, who clinched an individual gold medal in class 6 and a bronze in the couples class 6-8 with Cristian Dettoni and Ignacio Torres at the Lima 2019 Games, is ready to showcase his skills once again.
Pino’s involvement in the Pan American Games was also noteworthy, as he had the honor of carrying the torch during the torch relay’s conclusion at the El Teniente stadium in Rancagua.
“I have been preparing for this opportunity for several years, and I believe I have the necessary skills to secure a place on the podium. However, our aim is to fight for first place, just like in all the previous Games,” Pino expressed confidently.
He further emphasized, “My faith remains unwavering, and I am proud of the hard work I have put in over the years.” Pino’s exceptional talent in the discipline has garnered recognition worldwide.
Now, competing on home turf with the support of the local audience, Pino shared, “Throughout my sporting career, I have never had the chance to compete with the home team, alongside my family and friends cheering me on. This unique opportunity not only motivates me but also compels me to deliver outstanding results and actions, not just for myself but for my teammates as well.”
Concluding his remarks, Pino expressed his belief in the potential of Team Para Chile, stating, “I firmly believe that Team Para Chile will deliver an exceptional performance in these Parapan American Games.”
Exciting Lineup of Sports
Table Tennis will continue to captivate the audience on Friday, while the following day, after the official inauguration, the other disciplines will commence, with many of them taking place at the National Stadium.
Another talented athlete from the O’Higgins region participating in this international competition is Hernán Moya. The paracyclist will compete in the Gran Fondo and Time Trial on Maipo Island on Sunday the 19th and Sunday the 26th. Additionally, he will showcase his skills at the Peñalolén Velodrome in the 1,000 and 4,000 meters on Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th.
However, Pino and Moya are not the only representatives from the region. Juan Soto, a former professional basketball player and current coach of the national wheelchair basketball team, will also be present at the Parapan American Games, aiming to guide his players to victory.
A Promising Journey Ahead
Macarena Chandía, the Seremi of Sports, expressed her thoughts on the participation of Matías Pino and Hernán Moya in the Santiago 2023 Games. She highlighted the significance of their achievements and the challenges they face in their respective disciplines.
Chandía stated, “In the case of Mati, he aims to maintain his outstanding performance from Lima. As for Hernán, this is his first experience, and it presents a real challenge for him to promote his development in the Paralympic discipline.”
She further mentioned that both athletes have received support from the Regional Government. Regarding cycling, Chandía emphasized the need to recruit more cyclists who can transition into paracycling. She explained, “Hernán had an accident and used cycling as a rehabilitation mechanism.” Considering the popularity of cycling in the region, she emphasized the importance of collaboration with the Chilean Paralympic Committee and specialists to train technicians and promote the sport.
Regarding table tennis, Chandía acknowledged the presence of numerous clubs in the region and expressed the need to establish connections with schools that have integration projects. She emphasized the importance of strengthening the sport at the grassroots level, stating, “There is still much work to be done.”