The Spirit of Mexico's Down Syndrome Athletes

Mexican athletes with Down syndrome, including world-record holders, make up a 44-person delegation heading to the Trisomy Games in Turkey. They aim to surpass their medal haul from the inaugural games and prove themselves as champions on the world stage.

The Spirit of Mexico's Down Syndrome Athletes
The Mexican Trisomy Games delegation poses for a team photo, beaming with pride while holding the Mexican flag. Credit: CONADE

A delegation of 44 athletes, including world champions such as gymnast Barbara Wetzel, swimmers Dunia Camacho and Steven Martinez and sprinter Eloisa Mosqueda, make up the Mexican team that travels this Sunday, with the support of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE), to the Second Trisomy Games Antalya 2024, to be held from March 19 to 26 in Turkey.

The Aztec delegation will compete in the disciplines of athletics, swimming, futsal and artistic gymnastics, with the goal of equaling or surpassing the 20 medals obtained in the first edition of the quadrennial multisport event in Florence 2016, which is the equivalent of a Paralympic Games, for athletes with Down syndrome.

“From participants, we became protagonists, we have outstanding athletes, some are champions and world record holders. Because of the pandemic, the event was suspended in 2020, but now they go with the letter of presentation of dedication, constancy and excellent sports performance, they have their objectives very clear and with the best disposition to put Mexico's name high”, highlighted to CONADE, Miguel Ángel García, president of the Mexican Federation of Special Athletes (FEMEDE), which integrates in its ranks athletes with Down syndrome.

The president highlighted that among the selected athletes are Dunia Camacho, Giovanni Flores and Steven Martínez; in athletics, Eloísa Mosqueda, world record holder in 400 meters, Alejandro Avilés, world record holder in 100 and 200 meters, Ángel Flores and Pascual Ruiz, of the new talents, who will seek the gold medal in 400 meters.

There will also be athletes in futsal and artistic gymnastics, with the participation of María Bárbara Wetzel Aguilar, the top national representative and three-time world champion in this discipline.

This multi-sport competition is the world's largest event for athletes with Down syndrome and is held during the week of World Down Syndrome Day, which is commemorated on March 21. The opening of the Second Trisomy Games Antalya 2024 is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, while the competitions will be held from March 21 to 26.

Orlando Ibarra, team leader of the Mexican swimming team in the event, informed that 23 selected athletes of the discipline will participate in this event, seeking to be among the best in the world.

“In the case of the women, Dunia Camacho, we already know her potential, she is the best distance swimmer in 400, 800 and 1500 meters, where she is number one in the world; Giovanni Flores is also in the first three places of the ranking in the 1500, 800 and 400 combined events; There is the sprinter Paola Veloz, the backstroker Mariana Escamilla, the butterfly runner Steven Martinez, Jorge Luna who is a breaststroker and there are also very outstanding new athletes, who are part of the new projection that we are giving for Down syndrome, to position ourselves, as always, among the best in the world”, shared the coach.

The coach recalled that in the Portugal 2022 World Cup of the specialty, Mexico was positioned in third place overall. “We want to continue being a power in Down syndrome swimming; we are going to Turkey with a good projection of medals, more than 25 countries are attending this swimming event, so it will be a high-level competition, equivalent to a Paralympic Games,” he said.