Aiming High, Training Harder: Mexican Juan Carlos Cabrera


By Felippe Rodrigues – Posted on October 23, 1016

After breaking-through with a Top 10 finish at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Mexico’s Juan Carlos Cabrera wants more. At 24 years old, his career goals are ambitious: being among the best.

“The plan is to go to Tokyo, 2020,” said Cabrera.

But the young sculler knows the road in front of him is long. He tries keeping it step-by-step and makes sure to have fun along the way, including in races like the Head of the Charles Regatta, where he finished 22nd this year with 20:09.356 in the Men’s Championship singles.

“It is not my distance, much less the kind of competition I am used to,” explained Cabrera right after de-rigging his boat at HOCR’s Dock 6. “In fact, I have never raced one like this [with curves]. But it was very enjoyable for us and a great experience.”

Cabrera, a lieutenant in his country’s navy, has been rowing for almost eight years now. His first contact with the sport was at the University of Mexico. After starting in the fours, he transitioned into the singles by the time he entered the military, where he is dedicated to rowing.

He is also currently supported by a Mexican sugar industry company, Mandale Caña S.A., who puts a lot of faith in Cabrera’s potential, and in Mexican rowing.

“We hope he makes the A Final in Sarasota [in the world rowing
championships, in 2017], and be very close to a medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” says Richard Ham, managing director at Mandale Caña, who walked with the Mexican rower around the venue at all times.

Cabrera’s rower’s body, 6’4”, 225 pounds, surely gives him the toolbox to
succeed. “Motivation for training more and more is what will separate him from the others,” said Norwegian Olympic medalist Olaf Tufte, who will row with Cabrera in the West End Rowing Club Great Eight in Sunday’s championship race.

Ham, one of the most energetic supporters of Cabrera, believes that being around champions is a great opportunity for his guy — they also have their hopes up with young Kenia Lechuga, 3rd at U23 World Championship in the lightweight singles, who also happens to be Cabrera’s girlfriend.

“Our thing with him is to get him to as many international competitions as he can,” says the businessman. “The next steps are to find the perfect boat and to get confidence up. It is great for him to come to this regatta, where he can be around these guys, gold medalists and so forth.”

Aiming for the stars, Cabrera seeks new challenges for the next Olympic cycle. “I need to train and, in Mexico, it is a little complicated to do that just against the clock. There aren’t many teammates to go against one-on-one. I want to be with the best in the World, like Olaf Tufte. When one raises the level of training, he raises the results outcomes as well,” says Cabrera, full of hope.





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