The Karate Champion talked to Panam Sports, reminisced on her Toronto 2015 medal, and is now preparing to defend her country’s flag at the next Pan American Games.

At 27 years, Alexandra Grande has already put together an impressive resume including many accomplishments such as: Top 10 in the World Kumite in the 60 Kg category, World Champion in the Premier League in Austria 2016, a gold medal at the Poland World Games and being the Pan American Champion in the Toronto 2015 Games.

She invited us to come see one of her training sessions early in the morning at the VIDENA (National Athletic Village) in Lima. Over 20 young athletes trained along with her in preparation for their Euro trip. She’s calm and collected but she knows she carries a huge responsibility with her to bring her country more wins, more medals, and more trophies especially at the Pan American Games Lima 2019.

“It brings us such happiness to be able to have the Games right here in Lima in 2019. We’re going to hear the cheers and feel the great vibes from over 30 million Peruvians who will be watching. We can’t wait for this amazing sporting celebration to take place”.

The Pan American Games are no new feat for Alexandra. In Guadalajara, she won the silver medal, though, for many, she should’ve taken home the gold. Later on, in Toronto, she was able to compete again and with hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and her country in her heart, she was able to accomplish her dream and take home the gold.

“It was a very rough moment. I was losing until the very end. With only 15 seconds left, I was able to pull a mawashi technique which is worth 3 points and turned the score around. At 5 seconds on the clock, I kept fighting relentlessly. When they announced me as the winner, I froze. Tears of joy came running down my cheeks and my heart was beating a mile a minute. It’s one of the proudest moments of my life. I still get goosebumps just talking about it. Being up on the podium, having the medal around my neck, and celebrating such a priceless moment with my family”, says Alexandra Grande.

What was the key to winning the gold medal in Toronto?
After Guadalajara, everyone thought I had reached the top of my career but I kept training and I gave everything in me at each and every training session and those were the results. I’ve sacrificed a lot to attain my goals the way I did in Toronto and now, I want more.

Not only will you have the possibility of making it up on the Pan American podium again but this time it’ll be in your country, surrounded by your people…
Yes, and it’s an incredible feeling. I’m extremely motivated by this opportunity that’s been given to us Peruvians. I want to win and I want to represent my country in the best way I can. When we sing our national anthem somewhere else it’s an indescribable sensation and now, that the Games will be held in my country, in Peru, I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like because this time I won’t be singing alone. The entire country will be singing with me.

How is the training going for the 2018 competitions?
Honestly, it’s going extremely well. I am the kind of athlete that when she sets her mind to something, I see nothing else. It’s been a lot of sacrifice, sweat, hard work, suffering, and extreme focus.

What does Karate mean to you?
“If I don’t give 100 percent, if I don’t train, if I don’t practice Karate, if I don’t represent my country – I simply do not breathe. It is one of the most important things in my life. “

What would you say to the athletes of the Americas coming to participate in the Pan American Games 2019?
“That Lima 2019 will be a huge sporting celebration. All of the athletes will be welcomed with open arms by 30 million Peruvians. We know they’ll love it here and I look forward to seeing them in Lima 2019.”