Algeria’s Brahim Guendouz is undergoing an intensive training block in Spain as he sets his sights on an historic Paracanoe medal at the Paris 2024 Paralympics. 

Guendouz made history in 2023 when he clinched men’s KL3 bronze at the International Canoe Federation Paracanoe World Championships in Duisburg, Germany. 

As well as being Africa’s first-ever world medal, it was the first time a country from the African continent had sealed a Paralympics quota place in Paracanoe. 

Guendouz said the bronze medal he won at the ICF Paracanoe World Cup in Szeged, Hungary earlier that year gave him the belief to go on to secure a ticket to Paris 2024. 

“Last year was like a dream,” said Guendouz. 

“We had worked really hard to try to qualify for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo but because of the circumstances caused by coronavirus it didn’t happen, so that was disappointing.

“After that we made a big plan to get to Paris and we knew we had to work a lot to get there. 

“After getting my first World Cup bronze medal, it gave us a big push and made us believe in ourselves. 

Brahim Guendouz training Spain

“In Africa, we don’t have that much equipment and boats, so getting to a Paralympics was like a faraway dream. 

“When you have made it, it is a dream come true. 

“At the moment I am thinking ‘Has this really happened?’ 

Guendouz insisted that he does not want to simply make up the numbers at Paris 2024 as he targets a place on the podium. 

The 24-year-old is currently in Seville, Spain as part of a three-month training block in preparation for this year’s ICF Paracanoe World Championships in Szeged in May and the Paralympics in September. 

“Now I am at this level, I have to earn my spot again and work even harder than I have ever worked before because there is a lot of big names in this field,” said Guendouz. 

“If you are not doing your job, another person will take your spot.  

“That’s what keeps us motivated as we have to work even more and make a good plan for the Paralympics. 

“When I compare myself to the other athletes, they have all the support they need and have been preparing for five years. 

“For me, I prepared for just two months before the World Cup.  

“Now I see the Paralympics with a longer term plan so I think we can get a medal in Paris. 

Brahim Guendouz training Spain

“I am here in Seville for a training camp for three months. 

“This is very important because now I am training with the Spanish national team.  

“In Algeria, I am the only Paracanoe athlete so I train alone so this is good for me to train with high performance athletes.” 

Guendouz, who took up Paracanoe in 2017, said he was grateful for the support of the ICF having joined its Talent Identification Program in 2019. 

“The ICF has given me big support since day one,” added Guendouz. 

“In Africa, we don’t have many Paracanoe athletes, so they have been helping me to develop. 

“After winning bronze medals at the World Cup and World Championships, kayaking has been developing more in my country and in Africa too.  

“If I won a medal at the Paralympics, it would lead to more development for our sport in Africa.  

“That’s good because we have a lot of talented athletes, but they don’t have that much support from their country.  

“I think if they have the right plan and support in their country those athletes will be in the same position that I am sat right now. 

“That’s how we can create more champions and change the world.”

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