In the past, Alberto traveled to Europe to train with the goal to get to the Tokio 2020 Paralympic Games in his best possible form. However, with the pandemic's arrival, it was all stopped. “In March we had to return to Chile and I was 7 months without training. We had to rethink everything", comments the Para Swimmer.
For the hardest months of the quarantine, Alberto did not have the same motivation and he even thought that maybe it was about time he finished his sports career. “With pandemic and with the progress of my disability (Marie Tooth Charcot), I said here we stop, here we retire”. But a few months ago, Alberto recovered the spirit and the energy after the arrival of his second daughter and the return to the swimming pools of the Estadio Nacional Park.
Today, one of the most successful sportsmen of the TeamParaChile trains from Monday to Saturday to fulfill the goal to fight a medal in Tokyo 2020, and hopes to be able to participate, depending on the advance of its disease, in one of his great dreams: to compete in his own country in the Parapan American Games of Santiago 2023.
Do you see a possible participation in Santiago 2023?
I see a little it distant, still I do not even know if I am going to get there (laughing). It is certain that my disease advances day to day, from Lima until now has advanced and it is noticeable in the body. In any case, I would love to be able to represent my country in Santiago 2023, but I am very realistic, and sometimes I see it a little impossible. I must be sincere with all the Chilean swimming, in the sense that if there is someone better than me currently, in my category, I am going to be outside supporting them.
In any case, you have the hopes of being able to get there…
I have the expectations and the desire. I would love to get to that instance, to be in your house with your family and with your people, it is what every sportsperson dreams. In fact, when I was in Lima, I saw all the Peruvian audience supporting their swimmer and that vibe must feel amazing. I would love to be able to live that when competing in house, since Chile is not part of the world-wide circuit, so there is no competition here. Santiago 2023 is the instance where that dream can come true and for me, to be able to live that is a dream.
Alberto Abarza with gold medal in Lima 2019
What benefits does the event bring?
A huge legacy will be left for the city, especially in venues and sports culture. I think that many children will know many sports, which is the issue I always raise, Chile is not a country that shows you a lot of sports. That the sport could be expanded and I think Santiago 2023 can do all that. This event is going to be tremendous, and I don't think there's going to be anything like it in many more years, so we have to enjoy it.
What should not be missing in Santiago 2023?
There must be no lack of joy and love, for people more than anything, so that they can enjoy and be present. I also hope there are no athletes that miss the event. I would like them all to be there and that there are no prior injuries.
What are your next challenges?
The whole world circuit is coming next year, which is similar to the swimming ATP. Also the World Championship is coming and it would be amazing to end the year with a golden pin in Tokyo 2020.
Do you expect to be in the podium?
As a sportsman, you always train and fight every day to be in the podium, but more than anything is the satisfaction of saying I tried, and that there is no doubt about it. I want to train well this path, and the results will be the same to me, but knowing I did it with time. If I can be in the podium, I am going to be happier seeing that my two daughters are going to be there, and it would be amazing to crown my career with something like that.
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