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RUBEN LIMARDO: “I DREAM OF A MEDAL IN PARIS 2024”

The best fencer in the history of Venezuela talked with Panam Sports about his recent and historic qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, this time for the team event with his brothers Francisco and Jesus.

 The London 2012 Olympic Champion talked about his goals, the thrill of competing with his family and how he foresees the competition in the Olympic Games, among other topics.

After the World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia, the fencing qualification process for Paris 2024 was closed and it was confirmed, although it was already a fact, that the Venezuelan men’s epee team made up of the Limardo brothers, Ruben, Francisco and Jesus, along with Grabiel Lugo, will be representing their country and the entire continent in the French capital.

The qualification for Paris 2024 is the sixth for the team’s captain and most outstanding fencer in the history of Venezuela, Ruben Limardo, and will be his 5th Olympic Games in his exceptional career.

This is a very special occasion in every sense, as this time Ruben will be joined by his brothers to represent their dear Venezuela. After not being able to qualify for the team competition of Tokyo 2020, the Limardo Family did not give up, trained hard and set its mind on competing in Paris. In the last few months, the Limardo brothers had outstanding performances, reaching the podium in the Milan 2023 World Cup with a historic bronze medal, the first one in the history of their country.

The qualification was achieved a month ago, when they were the best team of the continent at the World Cup in Heidenheim, Germany, in 17th place.

It is 100% confirmed – for the first time, the Limardo brothers will be together in an Olympic Games.

A new qualification for an Olympic Games and this time, for the team event and with your brothers…..how does it feel to qualify for Paris and what do you believe was the key to your success?
I am honored and proud to qualify for this team. This is my sixth consecutive qualification and it will be my fifth Olympic Games.  But obviously, this one will be special, because for the first time in my sporting career I have my two brothers on a team, plus our teammate Gabriel Lugo.  It is a dream come true to have three brothers in the Olympic Games, but especially for Jesus, who is the youngest one of us. I think the key to our qualification was the unity we maintained as a family and as a team at the professional level.  We kept calm, we complied with the planning of coach Benry Martinez and I, as team captain, always advised the boys to stay focused on their work and what they want, so we could take the first step.  A month ago, we were already mathematically qualified; however, we had to wait for the last competition of the qualification process to be able to announce it officially.

 

How is it like to team up with your brothers?
Teaming up with my brothers has pros and cons. It is obviously a very nice experience; the emotions we share are quite positive, but we must separate family from teamwork and stay professional, because sometimes emotions can come through and that has to be controlled a lot. I believe that we have done very well, as we reached the podium in the Milan 2023 World Championship, beating very strong opponents like Hungary, Korea and Spain.

 

What is your objective for Paris and how do you foresee the competition?
Our objective is to fight for a medal in Paris, as we had a quite successful year in which the large number of points earned mathematically guaranteed us the qualification. We hope to be in the podium; I know that there will be eight very strong teams, most of them from Europe and two from the Americas, but we hope to win a medal. We have to fine tune certain details to make everything work and it is also important to avoid injuries or any problem that could affect us and focus on getting there in the best conditions. The fact that Venezuela can be competing for a medal is a dream that we all want to come true. For me, winning a medal with my brothers and with Gabriel Lugo would be wonderful and I hope it happens.

 

Do you dream of a medal like the one you won in London 2012? Do you believe it is possible?
Since I won a medal in London I dreamt of a medal in Rio, of a medal in Tokyo and I keep on dreaming of a medal in Paris. I am training to a 100% every day and preparing my body, my heart and my mind. I am still among the best in the ranking and that gives me a lot of confidence. In the last competition I was tenth among almost 300 fencers. In Germany I was seventh among almost 400 fencers, which shows that I am recovering my level. From now and until Paris I will work to ensure that my condition is at its best and I will continue practicing Fencing, which I love. The sensation that Fencing gives me and the feeling that I have for Paris, motivate me day by day.

 

How do you think that the Paris Games will be like? With an opening ceremony at the Seine River and the return of audiences to the stands after the venues were empty in Tokyo 2020…..
These Olympic Games are going to be one of the best because we are coming from a totally different Games that due to the pandemic, were held behind closed doors, with masks and many restrictions in place. France is a very good host of events, and the Grand Palais has been chosen as the fencing venue. The organizers chose as venues for the various sports certain important and historic sites that are consistently visited by tourists. Paris has a rich history and the organizers are striving to merge Olympic sport with the city and tourism to make the event a totally different and unforgettable experience. I think these are going to be the best Olympic Games in history.