Santiago 2023's Stars: Florencia Pérez, Great Champion of Table Tennis

At the age of 14, the para table tennis player from Chillán won two gold medals for Chile in Santiago 2023, predicting a bright future in sports.

Sunday, November 26th, 2023.- In her first Parapan American Games, the Chilean Florencia Pérez made history by contributing two of the seven gold medals that Para table tennis won for the host delegation in Santiago 2023. 

The 14-year-old from Chillán won the Individual Class 8 category, where athletes with moderate impairments in the legs or the playing arm, as well as those with cerebral palsy, hemiplegia, or diplegia, compete. She defeated the Brazilian Sophia Kelmer in the final. 

Two days later, she stood on the podium again, as she and Ignacio Torres won the XD 14-17 mixed doubles, defeating another Brazilian pair, Jennyfer Marques and Israel Pereira, in the gold medal match. 

Florencia Pérez, who will be present at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, started playing table tennis in 2019 as part of her rehabilitation at the Teletón Institute (she also played basketball) since she was born with spastic hemiparesis, a paralysis that affects her right arm and leg. 

"I am very happy. I never thought of becoming a champion in my first Parapan American Games, especially at just 14 years old. I am very grateful, very happy, very excited. This surprised me, although we have been working to achieve goals. The fact that it happened in Chile makes me very happy. And many more things are coming in the future," said the promising para table tennis player after stepping onto the podium at the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games. 

Written by Marcelo López; translated by Paulette Bertín / Santiago 2023 via Photosport 
Photo by Dragomir Yankovic / Santiago 2023 via Photosport