“I had a lump in my throat when we heard the Mexican national anthem at the weightlifting competition when Amalia Pérez won gold,” recalled Daniela Anguiano, a Tec graduate who traveled to Japan to document the Paralympic Games in Japan.
The Monterrey campus professor said she lived through two intense weeks during her experience in the games held between August 24 and September 5 in Tokyo.
“Something clicked the moment I discovered the Paralympic movement in 2017, and I said, ‘This is my work.’”
“I was a member of staff in this task. I was in charge of some of the Shooting and Powerlifting accounts on Facebook, as well as on Twitter and Instagram,” she said.
Anguiano, who graduated in 2018 with a degree in Marketing, has collaborated on a number of occasions with the International Paralympic Committee based in Germany.
She has been a professor at the Business School on Monterrey campus since 2019, teaching International Business Intelligence.
Living the Paralympic and cultural experience
In Tokyo, a normal day for Daniela involved waking up at 6 in the morning to organize her workday, having breakfast at the hotel buffet, and taking a COVID test before leaving for the sports venues.
“I feel very happy and fortunate to have been to the Paralympic Games. The experience was so wonderful that I’m still there in my mind. I’m very grateful.
“I think the best thing I took away from this opportunity was the interaction with the athletes. There came a point when I forgot that the athletes had disabilities: seeing their commitment was the best experience,” she said.
Daniela acknowledged that one of the most emblematic moments during her coverage of the Paralympics was the participation of the Mexican Amalia Pérez, who took the gold medal in weightlifting.
“I wanted to cry when I saw her (Amalia) compete. I remember when it was her turn to do the last lift. It was very intense because she was going for all or nothing, and she succeeded.
“I had the opportunity to talk to her at the end of the ceremony, and I realized that she’s a great person,” she recalled.
In her work as a content creator, Daniela said she felt satisfied with being able to share the most representative scenes of this event, in addition to introducing the Paralympic athletes to the world.
“There are still a lot of people who don’t know about the Paralympic movement, so my goal is to keep working to be able to make more people aware of it.
“Japan is an extraordinary country. The Japanese are very helpful. I’ll never forget the culture, the food, the places, everything,” she said.
The beginning of her career
Daniela’s story goes back to the beginning of her degree course in 2013, when she discovered through her brother that she could study under an international format, which would give her a new perspective.
International Honors Programs (IHPs) are agreements with more than 500 recognized foreign universities in which students receive an additional degree to the one the get from Tec de Monterrey.
“When I started my degree at the Tec, my brother was studying under an international format, and I said, ‘Well, why not me? I want to do it too.’
“Once I had studied abroad in France and had a master’s degree in Digital Marketing, I had to decide where to do my internship, whether to do it there in France or in Germany,” she said.
The Tec graduate’s options were to do a four-month internship with the International Paralympic Committee in Germany or work for a renowned French sports brand.
“The big difference was that in France I was paid and in Germany I wasn’t,” she recalled.
Content creator with a social commitment
Daniela said that making her decision on where to do her internship was based on fulfilling one of her biggest dreams.
“From the start, I said I wanted something with sports and society. That’s how I decided to go to the Paralympics because it fulfilled that purpose,” she said.
It was in 2017 when the graduate went to Germany to do her internship as part of her master’s degree in Digital Marketing.
“During my time at the International Paralympic Committee, I created content for several of their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
“I also managed accounts for world sports federations such as swimming, track and field, and weightlifting,” she said.
Daniela said that she had the opportunity to be part of the Paralympic World Championships in 2017 at the end of this experience.
“On the date I had to return to Mexico, the Paralympic World Championship was held in Mexico City. That’s how I ended up working for the committee as a community manager and reporter,” she recalled.
“From the beginning, I said I wanted something with sports and society. That’s how I decided to go to the Paralympics because it fulfilled that purpose.”
The dream of the Paralympic Games
When you work in that environment, your dream starts to become ‘I would love to go to an Olympic Games,’” said the Tec graduate.
So, when the games in Tokyo came up, I was already out of the running, she added. I was no longer working with the committee, but I’d made very good friendships, and there’d also been great teamwork.
“Suddenly, about six or eight months before the games in 2020, a friend I worked with calls me and says ‘Hey, I want to invite you to the games,’ and I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
With the change of date due to COVID-19, Daniela had to wait more than a year to see this dream come true.
In order to enter Japan, Daniela had to comply with the health measures required at different stages.
“First, I had to get a COVID test at 96 hours and another one at 76 hours before traveling. Plus, I had to quarantine for 15 days.
“They also had to fill out a certificate for me and send me a Pre-valid Card, which is like a kind of special visa to enter Japan for the Games,” she said.
She added that once they arrived in Japan, they were quarantined at the hotel, where a new COVID test was performed which needed to come out negative in the next 5 to 8 hours.
“It’s a demanding process with a lot of requirements, but the truth is I was going with the attitude of doing everything I had to do to be there,” she said.
“Suddenly, like six or eight months before the games in 2020, a friend I worked with calls me and says ‘Hey, I want to invite you to the games,’ and I couldn’t believe it.”
Sharing her pride as a Ted graduate
Daniela said she feels happy and proud to have had this opportunity and grateful to all the people who have helped her forge her career.
“I feel proud to have made the decisions I’ve made but also grateful to those who have supported me because without them and without the opportunities that have come my way, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.
She also shared her motivation and hope of being an example of dreams that can be achieved.
“It’s worth it to dream. You never know where you’re going to end up, but don’t worry about making the right decisions. They’re all learning experiences and will lead you somewhere.
“Don’t do things so you can put them on your résumé. Do them because you want to live and enjoy life,” she said.
Follow the Tec graduate’s work on the official International Paralympic Committee pages:
With information from Ángel Solís.
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