Cranford, NJ – Jun 2, 2021 – Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics will be held this year from August 24 through September 5, 2021. Hoping to make the team will be a 17-year old international Paralympic champion named Catarina Guimaraes.
Catarina was born nine weeks prematurely, but she wasn’t diagnosed with cerebral palsy until she was nearly 2 years old. Her cerebral palsy affects the left side of her body. Her brain and her muscles don’t always communicate properly. But her family was determined to right from the start that she would not let the cerebral palsy hold her back.
When she was only four years old, she was enrolled in karate classes. By the time she was 14, she had earned a second-degree black belt.
She continued to be interested in athletics despite her disability. Catarina participated in rock climbing, soccer, and various track and field competitions. By 2018 she was nationally and internationally ranked in several paralympic events. For example, she was ranked #1 nationally in the javelin, discus, and shot put. She was the national record holder for the long jump, and the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500 meter runs.
Catarina is also ranked in the Top 5 in the world for female sprinters with cerebral palsy.
Not only does Catarina compete in competitions open to people with cerebral palsy, but amaz ingly she also competes in track and field events for able-bodied athletes on her high school team. Since she looks able-bodied, paralympic athletes may question why she is there, because her disability is not readily visible. On the other hand, the team members on her able-bodied teams may not know she has cerebral palsy since she works just as hard as they do.
Catarina has quite a list of athletic awards. She won two bronze medals in the 2019 Para Pan American Games. She also won two silver medals at the 2018 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Competition in Athlone Ireland.
The U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for Track and Field will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from June 17th through June 20th, 2021. Catarina will be competing to earn a spot on the team.
Paralympic athletes who hope to be on Team USA World ranked started preliminary qualifying rounds in 2019. Catarina will have to meet the Trials Entry Standard any time between Jan. 1, 2019, and June 6, 2021. Right now she is in intense training to be ready for the three days of competition.
After the 250 athletes compete, the announcement will be made of who will represent Team USA.
About Catarina Guimaraes
Catarina Guimaraes defies the stereotypes about people with cerebral palsy. Not only is she a nationally ranked athlete, but she also is proficient in Portuguese and keeps up a full course schedule at Cranford High School, in Cranford, NJ. She is also a published author and a motivational speaker.