In the Colombian delegation of artistic gymnastics stands out the athlete Andrés Martínez Moreno, member of the Antioquia Selection and the Colombia Selection, whose current goal is to represent the country at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics .
Andrés Martínez Moreno seeks to represent Colombia in Tokyo 2021. / Photo: Courtesy
LatinAmerican Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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Andrés has practiced artistic gymnastics since he was 9 years old. It all started thanks to his physical education teacher from Colegio La Independencia in the city of Medellín, who, after recognizing his potential, took him to visit the Atanasio Girardot Stadium. At that time, the future winner of the four gold medals during the I South American Youth Games in Peru, met his current coach: Leonardo Gonzales.
On this visit, it was Leonardo himself who performed the physical tests on Andrés to see if he had the skills to become a gymnast. This is how in 2006, the young Antioquia talent began his sports process. He went from training 3 times a week to every day.
At just 17 years old, Andrés already enjoyed popularity as a professional gymnast thanks to his excellent performance. Both efforts paid off, because before turning 18, he traveled to the other side of the world to represent the country at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China. Until then, the gymnast had won in world-class competitions in the categories of arzones, jump to the easel, parallel bars and fixed bars.
His condition and discipline were at their best. However, while he was in the United States training for his participation in the great event in Asia, he fractured two metatarsals. Just 2 months after the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Andrés contemplated with fear the possibility of not being able to compete "I came to think that I would not be able to recover," he confesses.
But giving up was not an option. With this in mind, he managed to overcome all those thoughts and mental weaknesses that prevented him from moving forward. Finally, he successfully qualified for the competition and was able to travel to realize his dream. Today, at 23, he regards this experience of resilience as the achievement he is most proud of.
LatinAmerican Post met with the gymnast to learn more about how he continues with his training during quarantine and his advice to promote a healthier life despite current circumstances.
LatinAmerican Post: How many hours do you train a day and what do you do?
Andrés Martínez: During quarantine I have sometimes changed routines, but generally, in the morning I do strengthening training for the joints and stretching to avoid injuries. At 8:00 am we are doing hard training. Thanks to the league, we have an easel with arches. After that, we do specific, general and cardio physical training. We spend 3-4 hours on that.
LP: You recently commented that circumstances like the ones we are experiencing teach us that we have to be flexible and adapt to changes, how have you done it as an artistic gymnast?
AM: All that is being presented is an opportunity to improve something in our lives. As an artistic gymnast I have worked a lot on flexibility, which used to cost me a little more. I take time at home to strengthen ankles, wrists, and shoulders. So, when I get to the gym and I can train normally, I can further enhance my skills.
LP: Why do you consider that one of the most valuable moments of the sport is at the end of the competition when exchanging jerseys?
AM: I think it is because that moment shows that, although the sport is highly competitive, there are rivals and you are always looking to win, it is a very healthy competition, in which we are all human and the true goal is to improve, beyond inequalities. What this event demonstrates is the true essence of sport: bringing people together.
LP: How do you mentally prepare yourself for competitions?
AM: I use a lot of autosuggestion, I tell myself that I am good, that I am the best, and I do it consistently with the work I have done. So mentally I feel very strong because I know that physically I did what I had to do. This allows me to feel calm and anxiety-free.
LP: How to promote healthy living in current circumstances?
AM: I think it's very simple, it's just being very aware of the way you eat and choosing your food very well. Also, take advantage to exercise at home. In this quarantine, I started doing yoga with my family, which we have never done and it is incredible for the body, so they are small habits that can be easily adapted, but they must be done in a very constant way.
LP: Are you going to participate in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics?
AM: Yes, my goal is to be at the Tokyo Olympics, I am working hard for that, I am very focused. We have to prepare very well this year as we have the quarantine, and for next year we have a selective Pan American championship for the Olympic games. Then we are on the way.
LP: What is the best thing about practicing artistic gymnastics?
AM: What I like the most about practicing artistic gymnastics is that all the time, no matter how much I have trained and how much I have done, it always shows me that I can go beyond my limits, it challenges me, it makes me better . Sometimes it hurts, I suffer and everything, but I think that constant internal, mental and emotional improvement is great.