Terezinha Guilhermina

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Paralympic athlete world’s fastest.

by Maya Gasparoto

14/08/2015 - Canadá, Toronto, Parapan Am Athletics Stadium - Atletismo, Final - 200m - Classe T11 - Terezinha Guilhermina e Guilherme Santana. ©Daniel Zappe/MPIX/CPB
14/08/2015 – Canadá, Toronto, Parapan Am Athletics Stadium – Atletismo, Final – 200m – Classe T11 – Terezinha Guilhermina e Guilherme Santana. ©Daniel Zappe/MPIX/CPB

More than 1.6 million athletes from 28 countries in the three Americas (North, Central and South) met in Toronto from August 7 to 15, 2015 over the course of the Parapan American Games in 2015.

Brazil won the most medals, with a total of 257 (109 gold, 74 silver and 74 bronze). Second place went to Canada with a total of 168 medals (50 gold, 63 silver and 55 bronze). The United States came in 3rd place with 135 medals (40 gold, 51 silver and 44 bronze).

The sprinter Terezinha Guilhermina and her guide, Guilherme Santana, were responsible for three of the 109 gold medals won by Brazil. The successful duo has been together since 2010. Terezinha had other guides before Guilherme but she said that she felt as if she had been running alone from the first time she ran with the athlete. “He guided me and the experience was unique because I felt as though I were running alone. Since I lost my vision, never had I felt like I was running alone. People who were watching asked how long Guilherme had been a guide and they were surprised to learn that he had never guided before, “she recalled.

Terezinha Aparecida Guilhermina has been living in Maringá, Paraná since 2009 but was born in Betim, Minas Gerais. She was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a hereditary disease that causes degeneration of the retina. The vision loss is a gradual process that can lead to total loss of vision. Four of Terezinha’s twelve siblings also have impaired vision.

11/08/2015 - Canadá, Toronto - Jogos Parapan-Americanos - Estádio de Atletismo CIBC, 100m T11-Terezinha Guilhermina e Guilherme Soares ©Marcelo Regua/MPIX/CPB
11/08/2015 – Canadá, Toronto – Jogos Parapan-Americanos – Estádio de Atletismo CIBC, 100m T11-Terezinha Guilhermina e Guilherme Soares ©Marcelo Regua/MPIX/CPB

Terezinha began running in 2000. She said she signed up for swimming in a competition held in Betim. Terezinha always dreamed of running, but opted for swimming because she had a bathing suit but did not have shoes. Terezinha’s sister, Evania de Jesus, knew about Terezinha’s dream and gave her the first running shoes of her successful career.

The athlete holds the world and Paralympics record of every race she has competed in, that it is: 100m, 200m and 400m. Multi-medalist in 2011, she won the Paralympic Athlete of the Year. She broke her own record in the London Paralympics, completing the 200m race in 24.82 seconds. She won gold in the 2015 Toronto Paralympic Games (100m, 200m and 400m); gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games (100m and 200m) and 2008 Beijing (200m); Silver in Beijing 2008 (100m); bronze in 2004 Athens (400m) and 2008 Beijing (400m).

Terezinha is considered the fastest Paralympic athlete in the world, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. On April 18, Terezinha ran about 50 meters beside the fastest man of the world, Usain Bolt.

Terezinha, who has a degree in psychology, revealed her dream to study osteopathy. She also said that the “athlete” profession is a little different from other professions. “To be good, you have to be an athlete 24 hours a day. You are an athlete when you eat, when you sleep and when you are training. In our practice in general, we work 3 to 6 hours a day, depending on the type of training, and training phase. Our training focuses on running, weight training, jumping, technical and tactical work, depending on the season and purpose of the training. ”
She has a style that makes her unique and she said that her sister Evania de Jesus develops the strategy used in the competitions.

Terezinha Guilhermina Institute

Inaugurated in 2014, the Terezinha Guilhermina Institute is the realization of an old dream of sprinter. “I always wanted to create opportunities for disabled people. Opportunity that was often lacking for me early in my career. We still have no sponsorship, but I am the ‘sponsor’ “she said good-naturedly.