Athlete of the Week: Jose Antonio BAEZ (MEX)

Athlete of the Week: Jose Antonio BAEZ (MEX) Lausanne – 24 November 2011   The Mexican archer Jose Antonio BAEZ won the gold medal in Recurve Men W2/ST at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico last week.    Jose Antonio BAEZ’s longtime dream of winning a gold medal at the Parapan American Games came true in Guadalajara earlier this month. The Mexican archer dedicated his victory to his country and his family.   "I had hoped to win this medal from the start; everyone has the right to dream. Now I feel as if I were just waking up, and it’s wonderful," BAEZ told the Mexican press.   Competing at the Games in the Recurve Men W2/ST category, BAEZ qualified in 2nd place behind the Brazilian archer Luciano REZENDE.   BAEZ faced Steven James BOSSON (USA) in quarterfinals. He defeated the American 7-3 (27-22, 26-26, 26-22, 22-24, 25-21). In semifinals BAEZ met a Brazilian archer, the No. 3 seed Francesco DANTAS. The Mexican won the match in four sets, 7-1 (27-20, 26-23, 23-23, 27-25).   BAEZ advanced to the gold medal final. He left no chance to his opponent, the No. 5 seed Michael LUKOW (USA). BAEZ won the match in straight sets 6-0 (22-17, 27-24, 28-23). BAEZ’s gold medal was the 25th for Mexico at those Games.   This achievement is made even more impressive by the fact that BAEZ trains without a coach. Nonetheless, BAEZ received support from the Centro National de Desarrollo de Talentos Deportivos y Alto Rendimiento (CNAR, the Mexican national centre for the development of sports and high performance) during his preparation for Guadalajara.   The archer from Mexico City was surprised, and extremely satisfied with his first-place finish. He dedicated his victory "to Mexico, to my family, my mother, my son and my wife".   BAEZ has come a long way: he suffered a fall twenty-five years ago while climbing a mountain. He suffered two cerebral haematomas, two cardiac arrests and was in a coma for nine days.
BAEZ now works as a physical education teacher and physical rehabilitation therapist at ISSSTE, a governmental organisation in Mexico that administers part of Mexico’s healthcare and social security systems.   Now that he has won the major sports event in America, José Antonio BAEZ hopes to collect more medals for his country at the London Paralympic Games in 2012. "I hope to be there, but there can be a big difference between how things start and how they finish. I will now take a rest for one week and then go back to training harder than ever."   Find more information on Jose Antonio BAEZ (and all other archers) on the World Archery website.   World Archery Communication