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João Correia, the first Portuguese athlete to win an international medal for wheelchair athletics, has just won a spot and a direct qualification to represent Portugal at the Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan, from August 24 to September 5.
In the year in which he completes 20 years of career, João Correia is about to make his debut at the Paralympic Games after countless participations in national and international competitions, such as the European championships in 2003 and 2005, from which he came out medaled.
“My career is marked by several injuries that make each race a literal question of life and death and, even so, I never gave up doing what I like the most. After several serious injuries that prevented me from going to the last two games, I finally see the opportunity to fulfill my life’s dream and wear the Portuguese jersey in some Paralympic Games ”, says João Correia. “I have the ambition to reach the final and be able to bring the best possible classification to Portugal, but being at the Games will already be a huge victory that I share with my family, friends and all those who support me”, he concludes.
João Correia reached the 22.01 second mark a year ago, which placed him in the 5th position in the World Ranking (24 months), in the 100m wheelchair, class T51 and now sees his qualification confirmed directly , after having confirmed in 2021 the qualification mark HPS (High Performance Standard), under the qualification criteria of the Portuguese Athletics Federation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games: “Athletes positioned in the first 6 places in the Qualification Ranking, in the period from April 1, 2019 to April 1, 2021”.
João Correia was born in 1983 and, at the age of two, suffered an accident that left him in a wheelchair. In 1991, he started playing sports, becoming the first Portuguese athlete to win an international medal, in the wheelchair athletics modality. He has a 20-year career and more than 68 participations in national and international competitions. In August 2018, he underwent delicate cervical surgery, having returned to competitions in January 2019.