PARA TABLE TENNIS PLAYER MATÍAS PINO: “ONE LOST BATTLE DOES NOT MEAN TO LOSE THE WAR”
Chilean Para athlete seeks to defend his title at Lima 2019.
Some years ago, he would compete at local championships in his hometown, Rengo. He started playing with able-bodied people and beat them easily. At the age of 13, his father was advised to go to Santiago, the capital of Chile since there were tournaments for people with impairment.
That’s how he started his career. Now, Matías Pino seeks to defend his title in Para table tennis at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games and even though he has gone through a difficult path, he is used to overcome all obstacles.
“My goal will always be to defend the Pan American title and I’m sure that I will make it. One defeat does not mean that I will lose the war,” Matías pointed out after losing to the American Ian Seidenfeld in class 6.
The Sports Center 3 bursted into chants of Chi... Chi... Chi.. le…le… le. There were 13 people cheering Matías name. His family was there, parents, sister and uncles, they all came from Rengo to see him play as they did at the Olympic Games in Rio, where he ranked among the top 10 players.
“So proud, my chest is pumped up because my family is there supporting me each point and every set. I have to thank them for coming here to see me play, this is a lesson for many people that the sport is a lifestyle in every aspect,” Matías stated, fan of the German Timo Boll, number one in table tennis world ranking in 2018. Table tennis was the sport that opened the Para Pan American Games at Lima 2019.
His start in sports, challenges and passion
“He’s always been into sports. We used to tell them, if you want to go for it, we do it. He would fall down and get back up. We’ve always taught him that he should fend for himself, because he needed to know that he could get back up,” his father José Pino added.
Eventually, he discovered table tennis, first at home and then playing with regular players, as we didn’t know the Paralympic world until we got to compete in a tournament in Santiago and he ended up taking the third place. His current coach, Francisco Carrasco, saw his skills and took to boosting them,” his father added.
Renzo traveled nearly two hours back and forth by car from Rengo to Santiago and competitions took place even outside of Chile. At the beginning, they were in debt to afford the tickets to go to tournaments and little by little, “he started believing,” his father said.
“He’s always been very professional. He missed his graduation party because he was training, setting himself up for Toronto and at the age of 17, he was crowned as the youngest Para athlete in class 6, a surprise for everyone, his father stressed.
Nowadays, it is different because he has support and recognition. “He often goes to the most important tours of the circuit and works with a good team, allowing him to climb in the world Ranking and even among the best 11 of the world. I just don’t picture my son being someone else, he’s living his passion and I’m proud of him because he’s a real example to the world,” his father pointed out.
With his eyes set on the gold medal, Matías remarked that Lima 2019 “is so important because I strengthened my image competing at the Pan American Games.”
Para table tennis for Matías means much more than a sport. “It’s part of my life since I was 13 years old and the results speak for themselves. It’s what I do every day and what I do for a living,” he concluded.
Para table tennis takes place in the Sports Center 3 at the National Sports Village (VIDENA) and will end on August 27. If you want to enjoy seeing this Pan American athlete defend his title, get your tickets on the official websitewww.lima2019.peand at the authorized points of sale.