Santiago 2023’s Stars: Karen Palomeque, Mistress of Para Athletics

The Colombian athlete won five gold medals at the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games, confirming the status she earned at the recent World Championships in Paris.

Sunday, November 26th, 2023.- At the Centro Atlético Mario Recordón of the Estadio Nacional, Colombian athlete Karen Palomeque arrived with the impressive backdrop of three gold medals at the recent World Championships at Paris—victories in the 100, 200, and 300 meters T37 (cerebral palsy), the first two with world records. 

These credentials positioned her as one of the main figures in Para athletics at Santiago 2023, and the athlete, born in the La Iguaná neighborhood of Medellín, lived up to expectations by becoming the queen of the track with a remarkable individual contribution to Colombia's third-place finish in the medal tally. 

In Chile, the tall 29-year-old athlete secured victories in the long jump T36-37-38, the universal 4x100 relay, the 100m and 200m T37, and the 400m T38. 

Palomeque was born with hemiparesis (partial paralysis on one side of the body), affecting her left side. Despite graduating as a social worker from the Technological Institute of Antioquia, sports are her main concern and dedication. 

"I feel excited, proud, very happy with my five medals," commented the Para athlete on Saturday at the Estadio Nacional. 

She acknowledged that the key to her success at Santiago 2023 was being "very calm at these Parapan American Games, I prepared very well, my coaches were working full time with me, I had a very positive focus." 

Leaving Chile, she now focuses on closing the season with the Para National Games of the Coffee Axis, between December 2 and 10. After that, she begins a period of rest before preparing for the Paris 2024 Paralympics, aiming to replicate the good results of the World Championships and Santiago 2023. 

Written by Felipe Hurtado; translated by Rocio Rojas / Santiago 2023 via Photosport 
Photo by Marcelo Hernández / Santiago 2023 via Photosport