A year and a half without competing. Few things should be that difficult for a high performance athlete. The one who prepares to be constantly evaluated and who, suddenly, is pulled off by the main objective.
But they had to continue, like all athletes in the world, waiting for the restart. With patience and managing the frustration of the confinement, of the lack of conditions. In the case of Diego Carquín and Donato Neglia, overcoming the lack of water.
This March, the most complex year in their careers came to an end (at least for the moment) when they jumped again in the South American Water Sports competition held in Argentina. And the return was brilliant: in the men's 3-meter synchronized springboard event, the national duo won the silver medal, after reaching a score of 341.64.
The test was won by the Colombians Daniel Restrepo and Sebastián Morales (379.80 points) while the bronze was in the hands of the Brazilians Luis Felipe Bonfim Dos Santos Moura and Kawan Figueredo (334.41 points).
Santiago 2023 spoke with both divers and collected their impressions after the successful participation in Argentina.
"I closed my best South American event, my best moment really" says Diego, just finishing the final of 1 meter, where he was barely out of the bronze. "I am on the rise, all the experience that I have added these years is bearing fruit, I feel very strong mentally, technically I am also in my stage, and the physical part I worked very well in quarantine and it is my main strength" says who also achieved third place on the 3-meter springboard, behind his teammate Donato Neglia and Brazilian Luis Felipe Bonfim, with silver and gold respectively.
At the age of 28, Diego Carquín had competed previously in the Pan American Games in Lima 2019. A year and a half without measuring himself against other divers, where the pressure also accumulated, since they had to at least obtain a silver medal to keep the scholarships that allow them to continue their careers. "We assume the risk and the challenge, we train very hard in quarantine because we know that we have a real possibility in the synchronized in Santiago 2023, which will be our fourth Pan American Games, the job with Donato is to risk everything for 2023."
The pair also met the minimum mark to participate in the pre-Olympic for Tokyo 2020 in three more weeks, where they must be among the first 25 to enter the Olympic event. Another challenge is on the horizon for Donato and Diego, who see doors open when they still have several years left in high performance.
“We arrived with the best expectations for the South American competition, they set us a very high goal to keep the scholarship, a silver medal. A cool mind and a brave heart, we put all the effort into preparing in a very difficult year, we even built our own gym ”, Donato confesses after obtaining not one, but two silver medals. He also felt comfortable competing with Diego, with whom he has a long-standing friendship, healthy competition and hopes pinned on the synchronized. And they achieved one of their best scores on that test, despite all the pressure.
“This is an impulse to continue making the effort day by day and obtain an Olympic classification that would be the most important thing, the last step. We have one foot inside and we have to put the other. I am proud of the team that we are as Team Chile and what we are as divers ”.
And the story continues, there is no rest. Diego and Donato face the greatest challenge of their sporting lives in three more weeks, just as they begin to obtain the best scores of their careers. An arduous road, of enormous sacrifice, which is also projected to Santiago 2023.