28 January 2023

Wallace Santos, the path to glory

Gold medalist and world record holder in the F55 shot put at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Wallace Santos worked long and hard to achieve this title. A path to glory full of pitfalls for the Brazilian who will participate in his first world championships in 2023.

Originally from Campo Grande, a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Wallace Santos is passionate about soccer. A true institution, he spends much of his time playing with friends in the streets of his neighborhood. A great sports enthusiast, he even obtained a degree in physical education.

© Ale Cabral/CPB

However, his life changed in 2007. After an accident he became a paraplegic. At age 22, Wallace Santos recalls, ” I went through a big depression after this accident. I was constantly at home, doing nothing. It took me a while to get the hang of it “. This click occurs in 2011, thanks to his mother: ” It was when she said, “Wallace, I want my son back, the one who was happy,” that I got the urge to move. So I started athletics to get out of my house ” says Wallace. It is thanks to one of his teachers that he discovered shot put and became passionate about this discipline.

Rebuilding yourself

In track and field, Wallace Santos competes in the F55 category, which includes throwers with considerable limitation of leg movement, or absence of limbs. In this discipline, the Brazilian says: ” As soon as I started shot put, I had a big evolution. In my first year, I broke the Brazilian record and realized that I could do better. So I changed my life routine to become a high level athlete. I have increased my number of workouts and increased the difficulty to become more efficient “.

Between 2011 and 2016, Wallace rehearsed his moves to improve his throws and gain ground to earn his first call-up with the Brazilian national team. It is in 2016, for the Paralympic Games of Rio that he gets his first selection: ” Doing my first games at home was magical. It’s not my first big memory though. I had not made a good result unlike the Para Pan American Games in 2019 ” says Wallace.

In search of success

His first big international title will be in Peru during the Para Pan American Games in 2019. He won the F55 shot put event with a throw of 11.08m and the American record. Many months later, Wallace Santos won the grail in Tokyo. At the 2020 Paralympic Games, he went from strength to strength and set the world record on his last attempt (12.63m), placing him on the top step of the podium. ” It is an unforgettable memory. After the bad result I had in Rio, I worked a long time to get a medal in Tokyo. I was not necessarily looking for gold, but in the end I am champion “he says.

Wallace Santos wins gold at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games ©Wander Roberto/CPB @wander_imagem

Public energy as a driver for success

©Wander Roberto/CPB @wander_imagem

Wallace Santos is now 38 years old, a father and above all a professional athlete. Thanks to athletics, the life of the Rio de Janeiro CEFD graduate has changed: “Today, I am a happy man. I am not dependent anymore. I can do what I want. Sport has changed my life,” he says.

From now on, the Brazilian has a new objective in mind, the PARIS’23 Para Athletics World Championships. “I have never participated in the World Championships, so it is a goal to become champion in Paris, and why not by beating my own record“. Wallace expands ” At the Charléty stadium, I won the Handisport Open Paris in 2022, I had received a very good energy from the public. So I hope to celebrate a world championship title these fans. But before shouting victory it will be necessary to work “.

World record holder, Wallace Santos hopes for a good energy to get his first world title in Charléty, before leaving in search of a second Paralympic title in 2024.

On the Handisport Open Paris, there was already a very good atmosphere. I hope that the fans will be more behind us, to make these championships a historic competition.

Wallace Santos will be competing on July 9, so get your tickets to cheer on the Brazilian and his competitors at the World Para Athletics Championships – PARIS’23