For her first Games, the 22-year-old won the silver medal in paracanoe this Saturday, bringing the total of medals for France to 52.
Nélia Barbosa wasted no time. For her first Paralympic Games, at the age of 22, the resident of the Champigny-sur-Marne club, in the Val de Marne, won the silver medal this Saturday in the final of the 200 meters KL3. Already impressive in qualifying, the Frenchwoman finished second in an excellent time of 51”558, only ahead of the untouchable Briton Laura Sugar (49”582). Untouchable this year but maybe not in three years, for Paris 2024, which remains the main objective of Nélia Barbosa. “What I will remember for my first Games in Japan is that I learned a lot of things, I come out of these Games more mature“, She confided after her performance. “I will have things to bring to the young people who follow me in my club and who have been very attentive to everything I have done in recent months and years in my training and internships. I am therefore happy to bring them this medal and to show it on the way home.»
Amputated her right leg four years ago due to a crippling illness, Nélia Barbosa had a very nice finish, which she analyzed with great lucidity. “I tried to approach this race like all my other races. I started strong trying not to focus on my opponents. I relaunched hard at the end, I couldn’t do more, I had no more arms!“European vice-champion in 2019, this graphic design student, in addition to her career as a top-level athlete, believes that she has made a lot of progress in the approach to competition:”I had my plan in my head and we worked on it a lot for months and especially for three years. So I left with a little serenity because what I had been waiting for so many weeks had finally arrived. There are still a few competitions, stress tended to play tricks on me a bit. But now, I approach things more calmly because I had a good mental preparation and we were so prepared, accompanied and supported The pressure turned into strength, with the rage to be there and it worked well.So it only remains for him to continue down this path to transform silver into gold in three years, in Paris.