The swimmer Teresa Perales (Zaragoza, 45 years old) has been awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports in the 2021 edition, as made public this Wednesday by the jury in charge of its award. The candidacy was proposed by Gloria Fernández-Lomana, member of the jury for the 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.
At the age of 19, Perales suffered a neuropathy and lost the mobility of both legs. It was then when, together with his coaches Ramiro and Ángel, relearned swimming. The hours invested and enjoyed in the pool also brought him a bag of Paralympic medals: 26 in total. It is the cover letter that will show when he parades this summer in Tokyo his sixth participation in the Olympic Games. He is not lacking in enthusiasm despite having exceeded the barrier of 40. He also has an ambitious goal: to overcome the 28 medals achieved by his colleague Michael Phelps, now retired.
Perales was a karateka and swimming seemed “boring”, he recently confessed in a talk with EL PAÍS, in full confinement and after hearing the news of the postponement of the Games in 2020. “When Tokyo ends, there will be only three years left for Paris. So I can encourage myself more to go for the following. If I already had it in mind, now I’m not going to make excuses, ”he said with a laugh. And he sent a lesson to those who complained about being locked up within the four walls of their house. “Those of us who have spent very long periods in a hospital, locked in a room, have a bit of an advantage and live confinement with another perspective, because we have experienced similar situations.”
Home and mother of an 11-year-old boy, Nano – “They connect me to beauty. They have given me the motivation to live ”-, Perales is today a successful woman. Despite the circumstances. He graduated in Physiotherapy and trained in professional coaching. And she wants people to see in her “a brave woman who has eaten the world, a mother of a child who shows off her.” Because what I saw before, and thus explained in an interview in EL PAÍS, was a pity: “That ‘poor thing, with how young she is, and in a wheelchair.’ It was as if they told me that it was a frustrated life project, and thank goodness I didn’t believe it ”. Amen. Today a Sports Princess of Asturias will be able to put together his dozens of medals.