More than five years before, one of Spain’s most popular karate athletes was unbearable his time between rehearsal, alumna school and his day job as an aircraft engineer.
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Before exercise and studying at night, Damian Quintero consumed hours analyzing defective airplane parts and working on complex controls to regulate whether the parts were harmless enough to go back into planes. With little time left in his day, he couldn’t fully dedicate himself to the sport he loved.
Quintero told “I took a leap, leaving a good livelihood and good pay,” said Quintero, who was born in Argentina and moved to Spain with his family when he was 5 years old. When karate became an Olympic sport in 2016, it was time to start training hard.”
Now, nearly five months beforehand the Tokyo Games, Quintero is a full-time karateka and the highest candidate for the gold medal in Japan. He is set to arrive karate’s inaugural Olympic contest as the world’s No. 1 ranked sportsperson in the karate category in which athletes do solo and are evaluated on their aggressive and wary techniques. That all different in 2015, when karate made the smaller list for the Tokyo Games.
“It will be historic. That makes me even more excited about going there and doing well,” Quintero said. “Not just for me winning a medal would mean the greatest achievement of my career but for all the karate who will be there trying to glass case our sport to the whole world.”
A good presentation will be key for karate, which made it to the Tokyo Games but is not likely to be comprised in the program for the 2024 Paris Games. The sport was not initially selected by French directors, though the final decision by the International Olympic Committee is not probable until December.
Quintero said “We don’t actually know what happened. Some people blame the IOC, others the Paris 2024 establishing committee. All we can do is try to put on a good show in Tokyo. Then we will look at things, like television ratings and media publicity, and if they aren’t good, we will be the first ones to appearance back and say that we are not meant to be in the games. But we have to delay and see.”