London 2012 Olympics: Paraguayan Warrior Athlete Benjamin Hockin – A Lesson for Many Athletes!
A true national hero
He could be a full-time swimmer for the British Olympic team or Spain, but he always wanted to compete under the flag of Paraguay, a small South American country known as one of the least developed nations in the sporting world.
Although Paraguay, one of the first independent republics in the Western Hemisphere, does not have a pool of 50 and despite its problems with training and sports equipment, Benjamin Hockin, of a British father and Paraguayan mother, loves to compete with this nation Without exit to the sea. It is a rare case in the developing world where various athletes, from boxers and footballers to fencers and goalkeepers, want to become US / European citizens. In the late 1990s, for example, African Eunice Barber, who is 1.91 m tall, became a French athlete after competing as an athlete from the war-torn country of Sierra Leone in the Summer Games of 1996 Atlanta, where she finished fifth in the women’s heptathlon.
Guerrero- Athletes from Paraguay
Most of Paraguay’s victories have been produced by “warrior-athletes,” an envy of many Olympic leaders in the region. In the second half of the 1980s, the country’s team, made up of three combative athletes – Victor Manuel Pecci, Francis González and Hugo Chapacu – defeated América in the Davis Cup preliminaries, at a time under the dictatorship Alfredo’s anti-communist. Stroessner. Previously, in the early 1950s, the women’s basketball team won the Copa Sudamericana by defeating Brazil 20-19, and then finished fifth in the World Tournament in Santiago, the capital of Chile. At home, in 1962, this team won its second continental trophy, well ahead of Chile (silver medal) and Brazil (third).
His other international medals were when the men’s volleyball team won the silver medal at the 1958 South American Championship in Porto Alegre (Brazil). In the final, Paraguay lost to the host country (which was referred to as one of the “most outstanding teams” on the planet between 1959 and 1966). In 1964, this Spanish-speaking republic ranked second in the South American Women’s Volleyball Cup. Fifteen years later, the men’s team won a bronze for their victory over a Chilean squad.
Following their victory in the 1992 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the players qualified for the Summer Games. But in those years, the country’s tennis emerged with two teenagers, Rossana de los Ríos and Larissa Schaever. It was during that time that Rossana won the Junior French Open. Subsequently, Edgar Baumann was crowned the second best javelin thrower in the Western Hemisphere at the Pan American Games at the José María Minella Stadium in Mar del Plata. Apart from him, there were other outstanding athletes such as Nery Kennedy and Ramón Jiménez.
Over the next century, Paraguay, led by José Luis Chilavert and later Roque Santa Cruz, became one of the few countries in the world to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the fourth time in a row and after winning a silver medal. in 2004. Athens Games (behind Argentina). In the last world tournament in sub-Saharan Africa, the national squad – whose footballers sometimes use Guaraní to confuse their rivals – made international news by winning their group with five points, ahead of Slovakia, New Zealand and Italy. . But Paraguay has not only produced top-tier athletes like Chilavert, Pecci, González, Bauman and Kennedy, but also other idols like swimmer Benjamin Hockin.
Goodwill Ambassador of Paraguay, Benjamin Hockin
Benjamin Thomas Hockin Brusquetti was born on September 27, 1986 in the Colombian city of Barranquilla. After living in the Colombian Caribbean, where he learned to swim, he and his family moved to Paraguay, his mother’s country. In this sparsely populated nation, Benjamin, known as “Benji”, discovered his “great passion” for swimming, competing for local clubs, including Deportivo Sajonia. When taking a vacation in Tenerife (Spain), he made the decision to stay on Spanish soil, where his parents had been working. There, he began his career as an amateur swimmer at the Teneteide Sports Club, while finishing his school day. When he turned 19, he left Spain for Great Britain to study English and seek new horizons. During his stay in Wales and England he drew attention for his records, receiving an invitation to represent Great Britain. At that time, he sent his pre-Olympic results to Paraguay, but his credentials were not accepted by the South American republic.
Upon becoming a British citizen, Benjamin made his international debut at the 2006 European Tournament. The following year, he headed to Australia to participate in the FINA World Championship. Later, Benjamin obtained Olympic places in two events of the National Trials, obtaining the right to participate in the 2008 Games. Later, he was one of the members of the British team that reached the final in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay at the Games. of the 29th Olympiad at the Beijing National Aquatics Center (nicknamed the “Water Cube”).
Overcome huge obstacles
Although Great Britain will host the 2012 Summer Olympics, Benjamin, who is 1.96 cm tall (6 feet 5 inches), does not want to compete for the host country. Instead of Great Britain, where there are several swimming pools, his dream is to be an Olympic athlete from Paraguay, the only South American country where there is not a single Olympic swimming pool.
Before being banned for a year from swimming by FINA due to an inappropriate change of citizenship, he racked up eight medals (six silver) at the South American Championship in Medellín, Colombia, becoming the first swimmer from Paraguay to win a medal in continental events. since March 1976, Emilio Abre finished third in the men’s 400-meter individual team in the Uruguayan city of Maldonado, behind Brazilian Carlos A. Rocha and Pan-American champion Jorge Delgado Panchana of Ecuador.
The year 2011 turned out to be a special year for him. Why? At the recent Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico – the most important pre-Olympic event in the Western Hemisphere – Benjamin had one of his greatest satisfactions when he was deservedly named the standard bearer of the Olympic team and then, on October 18, 2011, gave his country his first individual Pan American medal by finishing third in the men’s 200m freestyle with a new South American record of 1:48:40, at the expense of Mathew Patton and Douglas Robison (both from America). Two days earlier, he and his compatriots – Renato Prono, José Lobo and his brother Charles – had missed a Pan-American bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay.
Despite enormous obstacles, he never refused to train with his teammates, an Olympian spirit that once had the legendary Anthony Nesty, a Trinidad-born Surinamese swimmer (who defeated Matt Biondi twice in the late 1990s). 1980), and the Costa Rican Claudia Poll. On the contrary, it intensified its efforts to improve its records. Unlike the swimmers from Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru, it had no Olympic coaches and specialists (such as nutritionists), as well as sponsors. Every day, from morning to afternoon, he had consistently trained in the only 25-meter pool in Paraguay.
Within months of the London Olympics, Benjamin Hockin has become a role model due to his humble personality, Olympic spirit, and passion for Paraguay. In a recent interview, Benjamin said: “For me, Paraguay is my country … It is another flavor (competing under the South American republic). I felt very proud to be Paraguayan. For this my declaration of love for the country.”
Thanks to his passion, talent and discipline, he shows that excellent athletes are excellent athletes anywhere in the world, especially when he defeated Americans and Brazilians in Guadalajara 2011. Good luck, Benjamin for London 2012! You are already a winner!