I take my sport very seriously. There may be people who think, “You win everything, so you can take it a bit easier.” But that’s not how I operate! I can only be at my very best when I work my absolute hardest.
My preparation for Tokyo started about three years ago. In the coming months, I will completely immerse myself in my training, seeking full focus so that I can be at my very best in Tokyo.
I want to know 100% what to expect in Japan. So when I read that there was a new player from Mexico in my handicap class, I was determined to meet her. Her name is Claudia Perez Vallalbo, and she surprisingly won the Para Pan American Games, which you can think of as the Paralympic Games for North, Central, and South America. I had never heard of her, but she just won that tournament.
Heading to Costa Rica So, where could I potentially face her? That’s how I ended up at the Copa Costa Rica. It wasn’t a very strong tournament, with handicap classes SF6 to SF10 combined. Normally, it’s not a tournament I would play, but purely because I wanted to compete against that Mexican player, it was a reason to travel to San Jose. My sister Kim came along as my ‘coach.’
Fortunately, the draw worked out in such a way that I faced her even in the group stage. And I won quite comfortably: 11-5, 11-5, 11-6. It was a good decision to seek her out; now I know what to expect. I know how she plays and what she does. But I also know that things can change in a few months.
A nice bonus: I won the tournament! In the semifinals, I defeated a Croatian player: Mirjana Lucic, and in the final, a Romanian player: Ioana-Monica Tepelea. Both of them compete in the S10 class and are much less restricted than I am. It was great to win against them and a fantastic way to conclude my tournament year in 2019. After that, my sister Kim and I enjoyed a short vacation in Costa Rica.