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Brazilian athlete Guilhermina aims for Paralympic gold

08-21-2012 18:19 BJT Special Report:2012 Paralympic Games |

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Before London officially stops being the Olympic host city, it must first stage the Paralympics, which will take place at the end of the month. And it will be there that blind Brazilian athlete Terezinha Guilhermina hopes to repeat her gold medal glory from Beijing at the London Paralympics, hoping she will break her own records in the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints.

Terezina Guilhermina is one of Brazil’s most accomplished disabled athletes. Despite not having sight, she has always seen herself differently than others.

Terezinha Guilhermina, Brazilian Paralympic Champion Sprinter, says, "I used to always say I wanted to be the world’s best when I was a child. If I were a police officer, I wanted to be the best. If I were a garbage collector, I would be the best. So, when I saw the track in front of me, I told myself I wanted to be the world’s best athlete. Every coach that would show up to train me, I would say, ’can you train me to break the world record?’ They would tell me that I was dreaming too high."

Born into poverty she had to share the little food her parents could afford with eleven brothers and sisters -- four of her siblings are also legally blind.

Guilhermina would not let her situation define her and wanted more from life. She had aspirations of getting a college education and becoming a psychologist, so she began running at a community sports centre that offered lessons for handicapped athletes.

When she began running, she had no shoes, so her older sister, gave her a pair of cheap tennis shoes. They wore out, but she continued to use them and that caused a serious leg injury.

She was advised to stop running, but instead went to physiotherapy and borrowed her brother’s well-worn tennis shoes, six sizes too big, to continue training. And once she was healthy she had to make extra effort to train in unusual hours to avoid crowded tracks.

Terezinha Guilhermina says, "When I realised that if I trained hard enough, I would only depend on myself to race, I understood that I could make it. So I used to train during the strangest hours because the track had to be almost empty, otherwise I would run into people. So I would train from 11 to 2pm when the sun was really hot."

Her hard work has paid off as she is now the world-record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints in her T11 category, where all athletes compete blindfolded and with the help of a guide.

Terezinha Guilhermina says, "Always when I’m next to her, training, I always do my best. We tell everyone that we will pick up all gold medals we possibly can. If we race three times, then we’ll get the three medals."

Terezinha Guilhermina says, "I want to someday take my granddaughter to the stadium. I want to be a grandmother and still be the world record holder with the time I made in London. My goals are to win, win and rise above."

Guilhermina’s story is one of perserverance, so it is no surprise that she has a plan for when her Paralympic days are over, she will focus on the one thing that got her running in the first place -- trying to obtain a college degree.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source:

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