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MARDONES Francisca
Sport Para athletics, Wheelchair Tennis
NPC Chile   
GenderWomen
Age42
Place of BirthSantiago, CHI
Height1.67 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Impaired muscle power
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
F54
Further Personal Information
Residence
Santiago, CHI
Occupation
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English, Spanish
Higher education
Hospitality Management - Inacap University: Santiago, CHI
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began playing wheelchair tennis at age 28. In 2017 she switched to Para athletics.
Why this sport?
She has always enjoyed sport, playing basketball and volleyball before she sustained her impairment. She was encouraged to take up wheelchair tennis during her rehabilitation, and switched to Para athletics after a domestic accident prevented her from playing tennis any longer.
Club / Team
Grey Rock Tennis Club: Austin, TX, USA
Name of coach
Rodolfo Ortiz; Exal Garcia
Training Regime
She trains at the High Performance Centre [CAR] at the National Stadium in Santiago, Chile.
General Interest
Nicknames
Pantera [Spanish for 'panther']. (Facebook page, 23 Apr 2020)
Hobbies
Reading, listening to music, dancing. (Facebook page, 27 Oct 2018)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the F54 shot put at the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (latercera.com, 09 Mar 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I always put all my passion and energy into each throw I make. All that effort is priceless when you realise that you have managed to make your best mark and have been able to break down your own barriers once again." (Instagram profile, 28 Apr 2019)
Awards and honours
In 2019 she was named Para Athlete of the Year and Para Sportsperson of the Year by the Chilean Sports Journalists' Circle. (latercera.com, 09 Mar 2020; t13.cl, 20 Dec 2019)

In 2019 she was named an Outstanding Citizen of Vitacura in Chile in recognition of her achievements as an athlete and her contribution to Paralympic sport in Chile. (Instagram profile, 15 Jun 2019; Facebook page, 15 Jun 2019)

In 2016 she received the Inspiration Award from the Capital Area Tennis Association [CATA] in Austin, TX, United States of America. (magallanesdeportes.cl, 12 Dec 2016)
Other sports
She represented Chile in wheelchair tennis at the Paralympic Games in 2012 and 2016. (paralympic.org, 25 May 2018)
Ambitions
To set a world record at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (latercera.com, 09 Mar 2020)
Impairment
In 2000 she lost the mobility in her lower limbs after she fell into a ravine when Hurricane Lenny hit Culebra Island in Puerto Rico. It took two days before she was rescued, and she required four years of rehabilitation which included several operations on her spine. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019; emol.com, 15 Apr 2012; franciscamardones.com, 01 Jan 2012)
Other information
SPORTS SWITCH
She represented Chile in wheelchair tennis at the Paralympic Games in 2012 and 2016, but switched to athletics in 2017 after a domestic accident aggravated a nerve problem she had in her neck. "When doing discus throw, I use a similar technique as that of my forehand, which helps with the acceleration as well." (t13.cl, 20 Dec 2019; paralympic.org, 25 May 2018)

TRIBUTE
Her father passed away ahead of the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She decided to compete at the event, and went on to win gold in the F54 shot put and set a world record. "I feel overwhelmed by emotions. I stayed here in order to compete as a tribute to him. It is so hard for me to express how I feel now after winning gold and setting the record. I'm so sad, but at the same time I'm satisfied to have given him such a tribute. I know that he would have told me to keep on competing." (emol.com, 14 Nov 2019)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She has worked as a motivational speaker and also served as director of Ronda Chile, a non-profit organisation that aims to support people with an impairment integrate into society. (rondachile.cl, 30 May 2018; franciscamardones.com, 01 Jan 2012)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games (Overall) - Wheelchair Tennis
Rank Year Event Result
9 2012 Singles  
9 2012 Doubles  
Round 1 2016 Singles  
Quarterfinal 2016 Doubles  
British Open - Wheelchair Tennis
Rank Year Event Result
9 2014 Singles  
5 2014 Doubles  
World Ranking (2016/01/04) - Wheelchair Tennis
Rank Year Event Result
20 2016 Singles  
21 2016 Doubles (individual)  
28 2016 Singles  
20 2016 Doubles (individual)  
20 2016 Singles  
21 2016 Doubles (individual)  
40 2017 Singles  
22 2017 Doubles (individual)  
163 2017 Singles  
57 2017 Doubles (individual)  
ParaPan American Games - Para athletics
Rank Year Event Result
2 2019 Shot Put F53/54/55 7.67
6 2019 Discus Throw F55 18.45
4 2019 Javelin Throw F54 13.75
World Championships - Para athletics
Rank Year Event Result
8 2019 Javelin Throw F54 14.48
1 2019 Shot Put F54 8.19
12 2019 Discus Throw F55  DNS