Our country is not only home to excellent cooks and artists, but also to outstanding athletes. This was demonstrated during the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi 2019 where our unified volleyball team won a gold medal, and two of our athletics representatives won gold and bronze medals.
Hector Henckell and Katherine Chura are our athletics champions; the first won the gold medal in the 200 meters, while Chura won a bronze medal in the female branch of the same discipline.
Meanwhile, our volleyball team, formed by Karina de la Cruz, Tady Olivera, Roxana Herrera, Celia Márquez, Amelia Altamirano, Ana Rivera, Karina Mondragón, Patricia Plaza, Enith Coronel and Lia Quiñones, beat the Russian team by two sets to one (10-25, 26-24 and 15-9) and won the last gold medal for Peru.
The Peruvian delegation, made up of 35 athletes, participated in rhythmic gymnastics, swimming, athletics and unified volleyball. In the latter, athletes with and without intellectual disabilities participate in the same team and on the same court.
Héctor Henckell was born in Tumbes and always excelled in physical education, a talent he inherited from his father, who was also a sportsman. His athletic career began when he was in his third year of secondary school.
Henckell has always stood out in the 200 and 400 meters sprints and, in addition to what he achieved in the United Arab Emirates, he won two gold medals and one bronze at the 3rd Latin American Special Olympics, held in Panama in 2017
Katherine Chura was born in Arequipa and qualified for the Abu Dhabi Olympics by finishing first in the discipline of athletics at the 18th edition of the Special Olympics National Games which were held in Lima.
A presidential send off
Before leaving, the national team was received by the President of the Republic, Martín Vizcarra, who encouraged the athletes to do their best and, at the same time, congratulated them for all the preparation and effort they have put in to reach these Olympics.
"We are proud to be represented by you. I'm sure our country's name will be at the top in Abu Dhabi when you're competing for our country," the president said.
"We send with you everything that Peru and being Peruvian mean –our land, hope, future– which you represent in a spectacular way," he pointed out.
In 1986, Special Olympics Peru was created. It is an organization that aims to provide sports training and athletic competition in various Olympic sports to people with intellectual disabilities.
It is currently present in 12 regions and has more than 8,000 athletes nationwide. It works with volunteer teachers, physical education and/or special education specialists.
Did you know?
- The Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi were held on March 14-21 in the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest international sporting and humanitarian event of the year. More than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries came together.
Sources: El Peruano/ Andina/ RPP