Gold Coast World Championships Series – The 2018 FinalsAndre Barbieri
Gold Coast World Championships Series – The 2018 Finals
Gidday mates, as they say here in Australia. I raced Worlds on the beautiful state of Queensland, where they have a slogan, “beautiful one day, perfect the next.”
Now my 4th year racing in the land of cangurus, thanks to my dear PossAbilities.
I arrived a couple days earlier and stayed with Team Brazil in a state of the art training center that had it all: cafeteria, Olympic pool, running track, massage, physiotherapist, closed circuit bike course. This latter one is next to a preserve, so it would have hundreds of cangurus around sunset!
Come race day and I was ready as can be, keeping up strongly on the swim; but then, fell behind on the bike. I had an ok run, but the fact that my prosthesis running knee is blown out doesn’t help me a bit.
All in all, I would not say I’m happy with my performance. But given the circumstances, I did fine.
Circumstances? -they are actually not pretty and this is the first time I’m talking about it. A couple weeks ago we heard awful rumors that turned out to be true to the Men’s PTS2 Category: ours is out of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. We, as athletes, just never saw it coming; I mean, we were IN Rio 2016. For Tokyo, they added another 20 athletes slots AND the right to have one more category disputing medal. So we thought we would never have to worry about being cut. But life can be cruel, and they had, because of politics, choose 4 categories for Tokyo —out of a total of 8 within paratriathlon.
Why this happened I am still figuring out, but whatever the reason, it’s not my place to find an explanation. It is my place to now find what to do next, because I’m not sticking around in this sport to MAYBE have my category in the following Olympics, Paris 2024.
I’m mad at the whole system right now, the ITU and the IPC. We thought about boycotting the race, where no one would move at the very moment they sounded the horn. But we, as athletes haven’t come all the way to Australia do do that, so we performed instead. But it would have been a pretty view, all of the 13 athletes standing still, just turning our backs to the judges…
It has been 6 years of hard work, not to mention a lot of sponsors and my personal money. But nothing was in vain; the discipline I learned, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made, the circumstances I’ve been in, the laughs. How much I’ve grown as a person is priceless. And for that I’m grateful. I am so very grateful to PossAbilities; they are instrumental in transforming me from an average to an elite athlete.
People say change is always good, even if you don’t understand it at the moment. Eventually I will find something new, I have been thinking about my next move.
For now it’s one day at a time, and I can’t wait to get back home to be with mamma and baby Stella!!