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VALENZUELA Cristian
Sport Para athletics
NPC Chile   
GenderMen
Age38
Place of BirthConchalí, CHI
Height1.62 m
Weight 52 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T11, F11
Further Personal Information
Family
Partner Amanda
Residence
Santiago, CHI
Occupation
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Languages
Spanish
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up running in 2006 at the Santa Lucia Educational Centre in Santiago, Chile.
Why this sport?
He was looking for something to motivate him after losing his vision. "In this quest I found athletics and I felt that's the place I had to be. I began running first as a way of staying healthy and later I realised there were competitions, and that's how it all started."
Name of coach
Raul Moya [national]
Senior International Debut
Year
2007
Competing for
Chile
Location
Rio de Janeiro, BRA
General Interest
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the T11 5000m at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (elmostrador.cl, 08 Sep 2020)
Most influential person in career
His mother. (Athlete, 22 Oct 2015)
Hero / Idol
Eritrean distance runner Zersenay Tadese. (Athlete, 22 Oct 2015)
Injuries
He missed the T11 5000m at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro because of injury. (paralympic.org, 29 Apr 2017)

In around 2012 he was affected by Achilles tendinopathy in both of his legs. (revistachilenadeatletismo.cl, 09 Mar 2016)

He sustained a tibia fracture in his left leg in 2010 that prevented him training for eight months, and he missed the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. (elmostrador.cl, 08 Sep 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"There are two options in life, cry or keep moving forward." (contintanegra.cl, 01 Oct 2012)
Awards and honours
He was named 2015 Athlete of the Year [for Para athletics] by the Circle of Sports Journalists of Chile. (paralympic.org, 22 Dec 2015)

He was Chile's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto, ON, Canada. (latercera.com, 07 Aug 2015)

He was named 2012 Athlete of the Year by the Olympic Association of Chile. (biobiochile.cl, 04 Mar 2013)

He was named 2012 Athlete of the Year by the Circle of Sports Journalists of Chile. (latercera.com, 20 Dec 2012)
Milestones
He became the first athlete representing Chile to win a medal in any sport at the Paralympic Games, when he claimed gold in the men's T11 5000m at the 2012 Games in London. (parasuramericanos.santiago2014.cl, 30 Mar 2014; SportsDeskOnline, 07 Sep 2012)
Famous relatives
His partner Amanda Cerna has also represented Chile in Para athletics, and competed in the T47 200m and 400m at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (alairelibre.cl, 28 Jul 2021; SportsDeskOnline, 19 Aug 2021)
Impairment
He lost his vision due to glaucoma at age 12. (contintanegra.cl, 01 Oct 2012)
Other information
FOUNDATION
He established the Fundacion Fortaleza [Strength Foundation], which aims to promote Para sport and educate people about impairments in Chile. (Canal13C YouTube channel, 26 Nov 2019; Twitter profile, 20 Jul 2021)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
11 2008 1500m T11 4:27.94
4 2012 1500m T11 4:07.79
1 2012 5000m T11 15:26.26
  2012 Marathon T12  DNS
  2016 5000m T11  DNS
Round 1 2016 1500m T11  DSQ
8 2021 5000m T11 17:15.14
7 2021 1500m T11 4:30.04
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
2 2011 10000m T11 33:21.51
  2011 1500m T11  DNF
4 2011 5000m T11 16:01.88
1 2011 Marathon T11 2:41:04
2 2013 5000m T11 15:45.68
4 2013 800m T11 2:07.32
2 2013 1500m T11 4:15.80
1 2013 Marathon T11 2:44:33
1 2015 5000m T11 15:52.64
2 2015 1500m T11 4:14.00
2 2017 5000m T11 15:49.63
5 2017 1500m T11 4:25.48