“It is a pride to be part of the success of Juan Diego García” Reymundo Calderón

Culiacán.- More than proud, excited and with the satisfaction of being the one who laid the foundations for the success of the Sinaloan Parataekwondín Juan Diego Garcia, so is the teacher Reymundo Calderon Medina, who speaks exclusively for THE DEBATE on how were the beginnings of Juan Diego in this sport, in his native Costa Rica, Culiacán, Sinaloa.

Professor Reymundo talks about how it all began in the already distant year 2007, and today his pupil is a gold medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

What is your feeling, after being the person who trusted Juan Diego since he was a child?
The truth is what I felt when Juan Diego was crowned Paralympic champion is something that cannot be described, there are so many emotions, so many memories and so much joy. The truth is I feel very happy and satisfied with having been the one who laid the foundations and the grain of sand for Juan Diego to achieve this long-awaited success for him and every athlete.

Raymundo Calderón was the first to coach Juan Diego García | Photo: Courtesy

How did the story between Juan Diego and you begin?
It all started because I was teaching physical education at the school where Juan Diego was studying in Costa, Rica. He was 5 years old and I always noticed him with a lot of energy and very restless, there I looked at him and invited him to train taekwondo in a more formal way at the DIF right there in Costa Rica. He began to attend and that was when we gave him the foundations and everything related to this sport, little by little he had more experience in different tournaments, obviously with conventional athletes because there were no children with his condition. But his disability was never an impediment for him, he always left everything in each fight and was capturing everyone’s attention.

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How difficult was it to be able to participate in tournaments with competitors who were not in the same situation as him?
The truth Juan Diego always told me that he wanted to go to the national Olympics. I told him that they couldn’t accept him because of his disadvantage, it was difficult because of the rules, but when I watched him compete against conventional athletes, I didn’t see him having trouble fighting. Fortunately, in 2016 the parataekwondo was opened in Mexico, we did not miss the opportunity, since I immediately took it to the selective and the rest is history.

Accompanied him to many championships | Photo: Courtesy

What was going through your head when you saw him compete for the gold medal in Tokyo?
There the emotion won me. He was waiting for the moment to explode in glee. I watched the fight at Juan Diego’s mother’s house, there we saw the fight on a projector and it was very significant. All of us who were involved in the Juan Diego process were there. I thanked his parents for the trust they put in me, the truth was mixed emotions.

What change have you had in your life by being part of the success of Juan Diego García?
They are mostly satisfactions. Personally, I am very pleased to be able to contribute and support society with a little, it is like saying that you have already done something for Juan Diego, for Costa Rica, it is a great personal satisfaction more than anything.

Do you have in mind to continue focused on bringing out more Sinaloan talent in the discipline of taekwondo?
Of course, this achievement with Juan Diego stimulates a lot, it encourages me to continue contributing and looking for talent. I hope that all parents were like Juan Diego’s, who supported their son at all times, that often makes a difference.

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