Fernando ‘Vocha’ Dávila
In Pursuit of Glory: Peruvian Judoka Camila Figueroa
In times when Peruvian football seems to be struggling, there are athletes who are dedicating their lives to represent their homeland. They face numerous obstacles, overcome indifference, and proudly raise the Peruvian flag on the world stage. One such athlete is judoka Camila Figueroa, who recently won the Bronze medal at the Pan American Games of Santiago 2023 and continues to strive for more glory.
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Interviewer: Camila, what does it feel like when they give you the medal?
Camila Figueroa: There are no words to describe it.
Interviewer: So, what comes before a medal?
Camila Figueroa: Tears and a lot of pain.
Interviewer: Please, tell us more.
Camila Figueroa: Injuries and bandages.
Interviewer: How do you cope with that?
Camila Figueroa: You train, you endure the pain, and you keep going. There’s no room for regrets.
Interviewer: Is there an emotional sacrifice as well?
Camila Figueroa: Absolutely. I had to leave my family and my hometown of Moquegua to pursue my passion for this sport. I now live in the capital, dedicating myself to training at La Videna.
Interviewer: What did you leave behind?
Camila Figueroa: I left behind the sun, the valley, and everything that was familiar to me. I left behind my old life.
Interviewer: How was it starting anew in the big city?
Camila Figueroa: It was a fresh start. I had a place to stay and food provided for me. The Federation has always been supportive of our needs. I lived alone and worked tirelessly to improve myself. I demanded the best from myself, and the results started to show.
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Interviewer: How did you relax during this intense journey?
Camila Figueroa: Whenever I had a day off, I made sure to get as much rest as possible. It’s important to give your body the recovery it needs because the next day is another day of training.
Interviewer: Did you ever go out for a night of dancing or celebration?
Camila Figueroa: In the entire year, I only went to one party.
Interviewer: Was it for a special occasion?
Camila Figueroa: Yes, it was after I returned from the Pan American Games in Santiago de Chile. My family organized a gathering to celebrate my Bronze medal.
Interviewer: Have you not been able to go out to clubs?
Camila Figueroa: Training takes priority now, and things have become more challenging.
Interviewer: Is that your personal choice?
Camila Figueroa: We have to prepare for the Olympic Games, and that requires intense dedication and hard work.
Interviewer: But do you want to do it?
Camila Figueroa: Absolutely. The Olympic Games are the ultimate goal for every athlete, and I aspire to represent Peru and achieve great things.
Interviewer: Do you get to see your family often?
Camila Figueroa: I have two families: my blood family and my Judo colleagues. They have become my support system.
Interviewer: Would you like to see more women learning your sport?
Camila Figueroa: In a country with a sexist culture and high rates of violence against women, it’s crucial for women to learn self-defense and be able to protect themselves.
Interviewer: Is there anyone you’d like to greet or thank?
Camila Figueroa: I would like to express my gratitude to Carlos Zegarra, President of the Pan-American Judo Confederation, and his wife María Martínez, President of the Peruvian Federation of Judo. They invited me to the Pre-selection and I am still grateful for the opportunity.
Interviewer: Thank you, Camila. We appreciate your insights and wish you all the best in your journey.