Pinto hopes boccia gold at TO2015 will lead to Rio 2016 success
Brazil’s four-time Paralympic boccia champion Direcu Jose Pinto has set his sights on winning gold at August’s Parapan American Games to underline his credentials as the man to beat at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Having won the BC4 pairs and individual titles at the last two Paralympic Games, Pinto has won pretty much everything there is in the sport of boccia, except gold at the Parapans. He is planning to change that in 2015 however when the event takes place in Toronto, Canada.
“I’m preparing myself in a special way for this because I’ve never competed in the Parapan American Games. My intention is to bring two more gold medals for Brazil alongside my teammates,” said the 34-year-old who is targeting success in other competitions this year.
“My goals for 2015 are work hard for the Parapan-American Games, the Korean Open and the Regionals of São Paulo.”
Pinto, who is currently ranked ninth in the world, knows that to win individual gold in Toronto he will have to do it the hard way, and that includes beating teammate and current world number four Eliseu dos Santos. At Beijing 2008 the pair won gold in the mixed pairs BC4 together and successfully defended their title at London 2012.
“My biggest opponent is Eliseu Santos, who also plays doubles with me. In 2014, I won once and lost the other game to him,” said Pinto.
“In 2015, we’ll meet again and I intend to beat him and bring the gold medal to São Paulo and to my city, Mogi das Cruzes.”
Looking beyond this year’s challenges, Pinto already has one eye on 2016, when his home country will stage South America’s first Paralympic Games. At Rio 2016, Pinto is determined to not just defend his titles but also leave a legacy.
“In 2016, I’ll focus on getting to the Paralympic Games well prepared physically, mentally and with the strategies well designed so that I can keep the gold medals in Brazil,” he said.
“I also want to take advantage of my Paralympic experience to help other Brazilians to prepare and bring medals to our country.
“Besides training for competitions, I co-ordinate a project that prepares 347 athletes aiming for the Rio 2016 Games. Our goal is to have a lot of athletes from Mogi das Cruzes in Rio2016.”
Should Pinto win gold at his home Games next year, then it is likely to surpass his current number one memory from competing on the world stage in boccia.
“What I’m most proud of are the two gold medals God gave me in Beijing 2008, in China,”
“Those medals allowed other athletes to know and start practicing in boccia and other Paralympic sports in my city, Mogi das Cruzes.
“Many investments came along and gave us conditions to keep fighting so that we could achieve more gold medals for Brazil.”
The Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games will take place between 7-15 August.
Source: Caroline Davis on behalf of the IPC