JIMMY EULERT, PERU’S MOST SUCCESSFUL PARA ATHLETE, LIGHTS PARAPAN AMERICAN CAULDRON AT NATIONAL STADIUM
The Torch was also carried by Paralympic medalists José Gonzales Mugaburu, Teresa Chiappo and Pompilio Falconí, the last Peruvian Parapan American medalist to date.
Welcomed with the applause of an excited audience, Jimmy Eulert—considered Peru’s greatest-ever Para athlete—had the privilege of lighting the Parapan American Cauldron, placed in the middle of the National Stadium field for this multi-sports celebration.
This was a fitting homage to the most successful Peruvian Para swimmer ever at the Paralympic Games, also a winner at the Parapan American Games. While sitting in his wheelchair, Eulert carried the Torch up to the totem on whose top was the cauldron. The Flame will remain lit until September 1, day of the Lima 2019 Games Closing Ceremony.
Throughout his successful sports career, Jimmy Eulert won five Paralympic medals, making him the most decorated Para athlete in the main Paralympic competition. He clinched a gold medal in the 50m freestyle at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. Later, at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, he also won gold in 50m freestyle, plus a silver medal in 50m backstroke. At Athens 2004, Eulert took home two bronze medals (50m freestyle and 50m backstroke).
His other sports accolades include the gold medal at the Mexico 1975 Parapan American Games in freestyle, while at Halifax 1982 he got the gold (backstroke) and a bronze medal (freestyle). At Aguadillas 1986, he won two golds (freestyle and backstroke), while at Caracas 1990 he earned three medals: another two golds (50m freestyle and 50m backstroke) and one silver (100m freestyle). In addition, he won the gold medal in 50m backstroke at the 1998 World Para Swimming Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Jimmy Eulert also earned numerous medals in the current version of the Parapan American Games, beginning at Mexico 1999, when he won two gold medals (in 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke) and one silver medal (100m freestyle). At Mar del Plata 2003, he grabbed two gold medals. Rio 2007 saw him win another gold (100 m freestyle).
Before Jimmy Eulert, three outstanding Para athletes who once made Peru proud received recognition by carrying the Torch. Paralympic medalists Teresa Chiappo and José Gonzales Mugaburu had the privilege of carrying the Flame in the last stretch. Chiappo won the gold medal in Para table tennis and the bronze medal in javelin throw at the Toronto 1976 Paralympic Games.
José Gonzales, who is also Peru’s Chef de Mission for the Games, took part in six Paralympic Games, starting at Heidelberg 1972. At Toronto 1976, he won the bronze medal in 100m backstroke, an achievement that earned him the Sports Laurels decoration.
The other Para athlete who was given recognition was Ica-born Pompilio Falconí, the last Peruvian to earn a medal at the Parapan American Games to date. Falconí won the only medal for Peru at Guadalajara 2011, as he took home the bronze medal in discus throw, F35/F36 category, with a mark of 33.47 meters. The three Para athletes carried the torch before relaying it to Eulert for lighting the cauldron.
Meanwhile, the flag of the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) was carried by Efraín Sotacuro, fourth at the Río 2016 Paralympic Games; Alicia Flores, silver and bronze medalist at the Kingston 1971 Paraplegic Pan American Games; Yeni Vargas, participant in the Río 2016 Paralympic Games; Juana Hurtado, who won gold, silver and bronze in Para swimming at the Mexico 1999 Parapan American Games.
They joined María Trujillo, silver medal in Para swimming at the Sao Paulo 2017 Youth Parapan American Games; Israel Hilario, who participated in Para cycling at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and the Río 2016 Paralympic Games, becoming the world champion in 2015; Óscar Neyra, who competed in Para swimming at the Kingston 1971 Paraplegic Pan American Games; and Augusto Vásquez, gold medalist in Para swimming at the Caracas 1990 Paraplegic Pan American Games.
Javier Soto, Peruvian representative in boccia, took the oath on behalf of all Para athletes. The judges’ oath was taken by Sorei Núñez, Para swimming. Miguel Calmet, coach of the Peruvian Para athletics team, took the oath on behalf of all coaches.