Argentine pole vaulter Pablo Zaffaroni, world number one in the U18 division, received a special gift during his preparations ahead of Buenos Aires 2018: his idol, Armand Duplantis, one of the best pole vaulters in the world, sent him an inspirational message.
“Buenos Aires 2018 is a huge goal in my career. The Olympic Games are different from everything else. You experience a unique sport spirit”.
From Concepción del Uruguay, a town in the Argentine province of Entre Rios, to the top of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) U18 world ranking. That’s Pablo Zaffaroni’s reality right now as he trains with the hope of fulfilling his dream and becoming an Olympic athlete at Buenos Aires 2018.
“Pole vault worked out for me because I’ve had a background in artistic gymnastics since I was a kid and when I started high school I had a gym teacher - who is now my coach - and she got me into the discipline (pole vault)”, said the athlete.
Patricia Lezcano has played a crucial role in his development as an athlete. With her help he was able to overcome different obstacles at the beginning of his sport career.
“We started out on a dirt track without a landing mat for the jumps. From there we went to another centre and after that a football field that didn’t have a track or landing mats”, remembered Zaffaroni.
“We found a track in Concordia (another town in Entre Rios province) and we just practiced two times per week. We had to travel two hours each way to be able to work on the techniques”, he added.
All their efforts paid off. Pablo is currently one of the most promising young athletes for the future of Argentine athletics. And he just completed the best jump of his life: at a tournament in Los Angeles, in the United States, he managed to jump 5,20 metres. He didn’t win the competition, but his jump became a big highlight of the season.
“My parents, Monica and Sergio, are everything. No one has the kind of support that I get from them”, said Zaffaroni, who recently received a special message from a major pole vaulting star.
Armand Duplantis is a 2015 world youth champion and one of three pole vaulters from 2018 that jumped 5,92 metres and put himself at the top of the IAAF’s world ranking. The exemplary pole vaulter sent Zaffaroni a motivational message ahead of the next Youth Olympic Games.
How did the Argentine react to this message from his Swedish idol? “How did they get this? Mom, Armand sent me a message! He’s incredible, I really loved the surprise”, said Zaffaroni.
With an objective of continuing to improve his growing sporting career, Pablo will continue his tour of the United States. But there is something on his mind, a date marked on the calendar for which he hopes to be in the best condition possible.
“Buenos Aires 2018 is a huge goal in my career. The Olympic Games are different from everything else. You experience a unique sport spirit”, said the champion of the 2017 South American Youth Games in Santiago, Chile.
“It will be a big achievement if I’m able to get a medal at the Youth Olympic Games”, he added.
Photos: Santiago 2017