Golden Chile: Jorge Carinao, Para powerlifting gold medalist: “Toronto 2015 is the medal I hold most dear”

In Canada, the athlete from Temuco won one of the four gold medals. In Santiago 2023, he’ll compete at home in his first major event.

At the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, Chile obtained four first places, in the prelude to its best performance in history at Lima 2019, where Para powerlifting made a strong showing with two gold medals: Juan Carlos Garrido, in Male’s up to 59 kg and the southerner Jorge Carinao, in up to 54 kg. 

Carinao has a special affection for the medal he won in North America, it was the first medal Chile got in that event. “When I won it was like looking back on the progress achieved so far, remembering everything I had to go through to get there; that's why Toronto 2015 is the medal I hold most dear,” he stated.

Originally from Padre Las Casas, Jorge began his career as a conventional weightlifter but an accident while training led him to continue his discipline in an adapted format: “the Pan American Games have always been special to me, I returned to powerlifting in Guadalajara 2011 and it was the opportunity to fall in love again with my sport.” 

It was a difficult transition. “One must deal with the grief, feel anger and sorrow but also have that inner conversation and say ‘stop, that’s enough, I don’t want this for me.’ When the accident happened, I stayed alone in Santiago, I preferred not to go back to Temuco. That was the hardest time, I confronted my disability; the darkest part, I didn’t eat, it was all very depressing, and I began to put myself in situations that made me uncomfortable so that I could move forward", he said.

Jorge Carinao with his pan american gold medal. (Picture: Jorge Carinao).


With almost 15 years of experience, which represents almost half of his life, Jorge Carinao will get rid of the thorn in his side of competing at home. In the Santiago 2014 Para South American Games, an injury sidelined him from the event. “For the first time my family, friends, and loved ones will have the opportunity to see me compete, so I'm super excited that they can finally see my sport live, at a high level, and really get to know what I do,” he indicated.

The schedule of the Lima 2019 silver medalist and four-time champion of the Parapan American Championship in powerlifting includes the World Para Powerlifting Championship in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), from August 23rd to August 30th. “Coming back from that tournament, all our preparation goes straight to Santiago,” he commented, although he’s also thinking about Paris 2024, which could be his third consecutive Paralympic Games.

“We qualify by ranking. The top eight in the world are qualified and now I'm in. I'm fifth and we're very close, because I'm 195 kg, the previous one is 196 kg, then 197 kg and 198 kg, so we're a kilogram apart. For that reason, Santiago 2023 is one of the opportunities to add,” he stated.

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