Tokyo will host the sixteenth edition of the Paralympic Games that should have been held in 2020 but the pandemic forced them to be postponed for a year and will take place from August 24 to September 5.
Valencia has been chosen to present the shortlisted Paralympic athletes for Tokyo 2020 and several of the Valencian athletes who will be at the Japan event have attended, such as Ariadna Edo, Héctor Cabrera, Kim López and Eva Coronado. The event was also attended by the Councilor for Education, Culture and Sports of the Generalitat Valenciana, the General Director of Sports, Josep Miquel Moya and Alberto Jofre, general director of the Spanish Paralympic Committee.
At the moment, Spain has secured 83 qualifying places for the Games, divided into ten sports: basketball (24), swimming (24), athletics (12), football-5 (10), table tennis (6), cycling (2), canoeing (2), rowing (1), taekwondo (1) and shooting (1). In addition, you still have options to expand the quota in these modalities, as well as to participate in seven other sports: badminton, wheelchair fencing, weightlifting, judo, wheelchair tennis, archery and triathlon.
The objective is to classify about 115 athletes, 105 of them with disabilities plus about 10 supporters (guides, goalkeepers or pilots). To fill these places, the Spanish federations that encompass the Paralympic modalities have preselected about 250 athletes. In the last Paralympic Summer Games, those of Rio 2016, the Spanish delegation won 31 medals and 101 diplomas.
The list of athletes who will be at the event is not yet closed, but we have been able to speak with one who already has a ticket to Tokyo, Kim López González. The Valencian athlete participates in the disciplines of shot put and discus. They will be his second games and in the previous ones, in Rio 2016, he achieved the gold medal in shot put. “The goal is to repeat the gold medal, but I am aware that it will be different in Tokyo”, affirms the athlete.
Kim was born in Valencia 32 years ago and has been playing sports since he was little. He started in swimming where he came to compete in two junior world championships obtaining great results, but it was at 16 when, bored with the pool as he himself confesses, he changed sports for “A bite with a partner” and discovered discus throwing.
The athlete is visually impaired, but claims that “You put up the barriers because you have to leave the house and do what you like”. In addition, he says that he would like to see salaries equal to those of Olympians.
They are going to be different games due to the pandemic because there will be restrictions. The main one will be that foreign public will be prohibited from entering the country. In addition, athletes may not attend other competitions as spectators.