Chile’s Cristián Valenzuela Defends IPC World Title
Chilean Paralympian Cristián Valenzuela added to an impressive medal haul added a gold to an impressive performance at the IPC World Championships in France.
LYON, FRANCE — In a time of 2:44:33 the runner from Conchalí defended the world title he won at the 2011 event in Christchurch. It has been an impressive championships for the T11 athlete, finishing the tournament with two silver medals, a gold and a fourth place.
Under the guidance of Ricardo Opazo, Valenzuela has become one of the key athletes in the world in the T11 category, which is for athletes with no light perception in either eye or a slight level of light perception, but the inability to recognize the shape of a hand at any distance from any direction.
Valenzuela said of his coach in an interview, “The profe Opazo is tough and strict, but I accept that. He has brought out my best rhythm. His best value is if I have two laps to complete, he makes me do it all the same. Being blind is no excuse.”
Valenzuela is a key part of the DAR Chile group, a group made up of Chile’s athletes seeking to work together as a group further promote a wide variety of sports. Among these promotional activities is a weekly radio show on Radio Sport. Valenzuela made the call for private companies to further support sport in an interview with La Tercera.
“I want to invite private businesses to join with their support. We cannot plan to create a sporting nation if all the actors are not involved.”
After winning gold at the London Paralympics, Valenzuela was named as joint winner of the Condor de Oro with gymnast Tomás González, a prize given by Chile’s sports journalists for the best sportsperson each year.
The road for Valenzuela will now lead towards the South American Games, hosted in Santiago in 2014. The Santiago event will be the first to host a Para-Suramericanos. Further down the line will be the fight to defend his Paralympic gold in 2016.