Rebeca Valenzuela ready for Worlds

Rio 2016 Paralympic bronze medallist Rebeca Valenzuela Alvarez has made an impressive start to an important athletics season.

The Mexican field athlete set an Americas record* of 13.15 in the women’s shot put F12 on her way to gold at the Dubai Grand Prix in February.

That performance led to her being chosen by the public as Americas ‘Athlete of the Month.’

“This recognition means a lot to me. To begin with, being already nominated is great. But then seeing the support of so many people I did not know, who showed me their affection, was really nice,” the 26-year-old said.

“All nominees were strong, but the difference was just in the number of people who helped me win.”

Her performance in Dubai was important to kick off the year on the right foot and also get the chance to compete at the stadium that will stage this year’s World Championships from 7-15 November.

“I feel very motivated because I started the year very well, with a good mark. I am hopeful of reaching the podium at the World Championships and achieve qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,” said Valenzuela Alvarez, who took bronze at the London 2017 Worlds.

“At the Grand Prix I could recognise the territory where the Worlds will take place. This makes me feel better because I know the place now. I have a big commitment for this year and next.”

Valenzuela Alvarez will re-start intensive training at the Mexican Paralympic Centre in April as preparation for the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games. In the Peruvian capital city, she will try to defend the women’s javelin and shot put F11/12 titles she won at Toronto 2015.

“I really hope I can do well at the Parapans. I know that if I perform well, I will get the result I want.”