Mr. Aythami Santana Santana will be competing for Spain in the K44 M -61kg division at the 6th WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships Samsun!
WTF has interviewed Mr. Santana who is a three time World Champion from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions of the WTF World Para-Taekwondo Championships.
How did you feel when you heard that para-taekwondo will be included at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games?
Santana: When I received the news that para-taekwondo was included in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic program I felt, that the work all para-taekwondo athletes have put in has been rewarded. Also, I think that it is an important step for taekwondo to spread as a sport for athletes with a disability.
What are you hoping to achieve at this year’s World Championships?
Santana: Well my highest aspiration is always leaving happy for having made a good competition regardless of the outcome, but it is clear that I have to aspire to more. The competition is a path that I must travel slowly. First you have to get to the quarter-finals, then come the semi-finals and the final. In conclusion, I will try to get the maximum points for the world ranking become world champion.
How have you prepared yourself for this year’s World Championships?
Santana: I am well prepared, aside from the hours dedicated to the physical, tactical and technical training, I think the mental aspect is very important. I think we need to be prepared for situations of stress that occur in every fight. At this level the athletes are well matched and I think that you can get the upper hand and win matches by improving mentally.
What impact do you think the introduction of world rankings has had on the sport?
Santana: I believe that the introduction of world ranking is a major success since everything becomes much more professional. It will help fans finger point the best positioned athletes to qualify for the Paralympic Games. Athletes will be encouraged to improve in order to climb the rankings and if on top you will be working hard to stay there.
What do you love most about Taekwondo?
Santana: The competitions, I think that the atmosphere that is created is magnificent. I enjoy both fighting and the relationship that we have between the different teams and athletes. In practice, I think that Taekwondo is a sport that helps you improve in all different aspects of life. Teaches values, such as humility, discipline and consistency, which applied in the day to day help you make everything much easier.
What advice would you give to young people out there with impairments who are thinking about taking up para-taekwondo?
Santana: I would say to start by practicing taekwondo in general since it contributes very important things for the day to day and from there if they like the competition I would recommend that you that, although the road is long and full of hard work and sacrifice they can achieve their goals.