Juan Miguel Postigos, Peruvian flag bearer: “I was thinking of retiring after Tokyo, but the love for the sport was stronger” | Judo | Bolivarian Games Valledupar 2022 | RMMD DTCC | SPORT-TOTAL

MIRA- Christiana de Osma: the Peruvian who conquers water skiing at the age of 13

— How did your adventure in judo begin? At what age and who instilled it in you?

I am a very hyperactive person from a very young age. When he was 6 years old, a judo club went to the primary school where he studied, in Rímac, looking for a space. My school gives him the space and then I, by luck or destiny, fall there. I liked it, I started judo and from that moment I began to practice it.

— Has anyone in your family played sports?

No, neither my dad nor my mom are athletes. They like sports, especially soccer, and my mom was very fond of athletics, but they never reached a high level.

— What difficulties have you experienced on this path?

I believe that there is no high-performance athlete who does not have difficulties reaching an achievement. There were always ups and downs. You always have to overcome them, I think that’s important, it helps you mature as a person and as an athlete.

— What is the biggest difficulty you have dealt with?

I have had several difficulties, like in the Pan American Games, where I was left without a medal. For me, Lima 2019 is not a good memory, it is an event where I had a very hard time and I tell you that I currently cannot overcome it -he was fifth-. When they talk to me about Lima 2019, I prefer to change the subject because it is not the best tournament I have done in my sports career, even though that year was going very well. But they are things that help you get back on your feet and move forward, because at the end of the day I was able to make it to the Olympics, which was also very important.

Juan Postigos competed at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, but fell in his debut. Then by playoff he reached fifth place | Photo: GEC / NUCLEO-PHOTOGRAPHY > HUGO PEREZ

— Have you had to deal with financial problems during your career?

The IPD has always supported me from a very young age. The problem with this support is that, of course, everything depends on sports results. In some moments they have wanted to lower my support without respecting the athlete’s career and trajectory, knowing that it has been more than 10 years in which I have remained at the same level, for which I have gone to three Olympics and others. So I think that the people who manage the methodology in Peruvian sports, and especially in the IPD, do not know much about high performance and I think that has a lot of influence. We athletes have to feel supported and we don’t have to think about whether they give us more or if they give us less.

— Do you remember what your first international experience was like?

If you are talking about adults, when I was 15 years old my first international tournament was the 2005 Bolivarian Games, where I won and after that I was very excited to continue competing, despite my young age, in senior tournaments. I took the risk, because I jumped stages, but I don’t regret it.

— What have you had to sacrifice to get to where you are today?

Many things. My adolescence; my family, because I have lived in France for 12 years; go out with friends; that short university period that I had, but that also meant having to choose between going out drinking and partying with friends or going to train. There are many things that I do not regret, because they have taken me to three Olympics. The support of my family has been very important to achieve this.

Juan Postigos has participated in three Olympic Games (London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020) |  Photo: EFE
Juan Postigos has participated in three Olympic Games (London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020) | Photo: EFE / Jose Mendez

— As you say, you are an Olympic athlete. What does that represent for you and your career?

It is a pride. I think I’m on a very short list of athletes who have made it to the Olympics. There are very good athletes with Pan American medals who have not been able to reach an Olympics. So, I’m honored that I was able to get to three. It has been a great effort to achieve it.

— You are going to be the flag bearer of a delegation of more than 400 athletes. What does that great responsibility mean to you?

I feel quite honored, since there are many athletes of a very good level and with good results who are also going to compete now. The fact that I was chosen among all of them, I feel honored by that.

— What are your expectations for these Bolivarian Games?

You have to go out and win the Bolivarian Games, you have to try to start well in the Olympic cycle, but everything depends on the competition. There are good days and there are bad days. One is not clairvoyant to say ‘I am going to win’. You just have to compete in the best way to be able to look for the best possible result.

Juan Postigo will be the national flag bearer of the 2022 Bolivarian Games together with María Luisa Doig.  PHOTO: RENZO SALAZAR / GEC
Juan Postigo will be the national flag bearer of the 2022 Bolivarian Games together with María Luisa Doig. PHOTO: RENZO SALAZAR / GEC / CORE-PHOTOGRAPHY> RENZO SALAZAR

— What is your main dream in this sport?

My main sports dream I don’t know. I am trying to live day to day, competition after competition. I feel at a stage where I was thinking of retiring after Tokyo 2020 and in the end I didn’t. So, I am trying to enjoy competition after competition of the few years that I still have left in the sport and I will see the goals in the moment.

— How was that stage in which you thought about retiring after Tokyo 2020?

It was a stage in which I could not. I had already decided to retire after Tokyo 2020, I had other personal projects with my partner, but the love for the sport was stronger. I couldn’t stop going to training, I couldn’t stay home still. He had to be doing something. I think that was more than all. So, for now, I wanted to do a test year to see what conditions I was in and in the first tournament of the year that I did, I finished second in a continental Pan American with Oceania. That motivated me to want to continue. For now I use that energy to be able to continue, but I don’t know how far it will take me.

— Personally, how do you feel when you represent the country?

It is an immense joy. I feel quite proud to compete for Peru, I feel that it is different when you fight for your country than for your club and, above all, seek the best possible result for your country. And that they recognize it is very important.

What other challenges lie ahead?

For now, continue to compete, continue as far as the body, hoping to reach different tournaments. I am not closing the door on anything, neither the Pan American Games (Santiago 2023) nor the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, but that has to be built little by little. I cannot say that I am going to get there, but what I can say is that it will be seen along the way and that we have to go step by step to try to get there.



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