Paralympics: Different sports, same drive as Brazilian mother-daughter duo aim to compete at more Games together

TOKYO – While many teenagers may not want to listen to advice from their parents, Brazilian table tennis player Lethicia Rodrigues Lacerda was happy to receive some Paralympic tips from her mother, archer Jane Karla Gogel.

The duo are the only mother-and-daughter duo competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

“It’s very special to be with my mum here,” said the 18-year-old debutant Lacerda, who has hip and joint inflammation issues which limit her ability to squat, run and jump.

“We are both able to participate and share our emotions. Everything is very magical.”

She told Olympic Information Service that her mother is her best friend and has been her biggest influence.

Lacerda faced former European champion Aida Dahlen on Wednesday, and Gogel, a former national paddler who played against the Norwegian multiple times, had hoped to impart some inside knowledge to her daughter.

“We had many tough battles against each other,” the 46-year-old said of Dahlen. “By knowing some of her weaknesses I could share them with Lethicia.”

But it was not to be as Lacerda lost 3-0 to the eventual joint-bronze medallist on Wednesday (Aug 25), before a 3-1 defeat by China’s silver medallist Huang Wenjuan on Friday in their women’s singles Class 8 singles Group C matches.

Despite the defeat, nothing could dampen Lacerda’s spirit as she is already looking forward to emulating her mother’s multi-sport feat.

“Maybe in the future I can try another sport in the Paralympics,” the teenager said of following in her mother’s footsteps.

“I like everything, but table tennis the most. I want to try sitting volleyball one day.”

Gogel, who competed in table tennis at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 before switching to archery for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, is also hopeful she can participate at more Paralympics to come alongside her daughter.

Gogel, who was diagnosed with polio at a young age, was eliminated with Andrey de Castro in the mixed team compound round of 16 on Sunday, and will feature in the women’s individual compound on Monday.

“In my mind, I’m going to compete in archery until I’m very old, or until my arms cannot do it any more,” she said.

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