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Josselyn Tatiana Portillo, athlete and fighter mother

Josselyn Tatiana Portillo, wrestling athlete, begins her training at 10:00 a.m. and with great enthusiasm at the INDES venue on Calle Arce, where she practices the attacks and defense that she plans to use in the Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023.

A whole repertoire of child’s music can be heard in the corner of a mat, where Sebastian, her six-month-old son, plays while she trains.

A few minutes before the training session, she breastfed and caressed her baby, then she began her warm-up with Karen Sánchez and Karla Hernández.

Seeing Josselyn holding her baby has been a recurring scene for four months, since the wrestler in the 68 kg category returned to train after a maternity leave.

The speaker provided by her coach, Carlos Barahona, plays music by Super Simple Songs; that way, Josselyn starts her session, in which she turns from mother into athlete.

The 28-year-old wrestler explained that the decision of bringing Sebastian to her training is, in good measure, due to her exclusive breastfeeding period, and to spend more time with him before starting her shift as a nurse.

“I just returned from a maternity leave, and I am doing my best to spend as much time with him as possible. After the two-month recovery from the c-section, I am getting back into the mix. My son has exclusive breastfeeding, and I’ve had the chance to have him here during my practices with the help of coach Carlos Barahona. I bring my baby whenever I can”, explained Josselyn, who is also mother to Anderson, her firstborn, who is now eight years old.

After practice, Josselyn goes back home and leaves her baby with her mother, she then puts on her nurse uniform to go start her shift at Hospital Nacional Zacamil.

“I am a mother of two, I am a mother and a nurse, but I do my best because I love the sport; when you like something, the sacrifice makes it worth it. I like sports, and I love wrestling, I want to be an example to my kids, so they can see that whenever you want to do something, you can do it… My co-workers tell me that I am actually a fighting mommy”, she emphasized.

Whenever she is working at Hospital Nacional “Dr. Juan José Fernández”, or she is competing in wrestling, she can always leave her mother, Miriam Elizabeth Mejía, in charge of her children.

Regarding her job as a nurse, Josselyn explained that she graduated in 2020, and just when she was finishing her social service, she got her job as a nurse in the pediatrics area of Hospital Zacamil.

“I finished my studies thanks to God and the sport, I had the economic stimulus and I covered my expenses with it. I have rotating shifts at the hospital, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and sometimes I work nights. I thank God because I always wanted to be a nurse. I love what I do in my area, and I enjoy caring for children and seeing how they recover, a child’s smile is the biggest satisfaction I get every day”, the wrestler explained.

Josselyn’s sports career spans 17 years, she has many goals to fulfill. “I began wrestling in 2005, I was nine years old. It was thanks to my cousin, Luis Portillo, a former wrestling athlete, because I saw how the sport opened many opportunities to him”, she said.

The athlete is part of the short list for the wrestling national team and has good projection to represent the country in the San Salvador 2023 Games that will take place from June 23rd to July 8th.

“I want to be properly prepared, and in the medium-term, get to my best physical and mental condition to get a spot on the podium. I want to continue my career, and we are looking at other objectives”, expressed the athlete, whose life partner is Eduardo García, a former bodybuilding athlete.

These will be the second Central American and Caribbean Games for Josselyn, and her goal is clear.

“Thank God, I managed to get a bronze medal during my first games. For these ones, my goal is to get on the podium with any medal. We have to take this opportunity to make our sport known. I hope I can do my best here”, she mentioned.

The wrestler’s achievements include a bronze medal at the Veracruz 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games.

On his part, Carlos Barahona, a coach from the Salvadoran Wrestling Federation (Fedeluchas), explained that there have been some adjustments in the plan to help Josselyn.

“We are Salvadorans, and we must support each other. There was an adjustment made for her, she is a mother who works as a nurse, so training sessions have been moved to the morning and the evening. We are working together, and we always try to have sparring partners for her. She is an experienced athlete, and she comes from a postpartum period. Sometimes I have to give her directions while holding her baby, some other times the federation staff helps us to look after the kid, so she can focus”, Barahona mentioned.

During her last practices, María Eugenia López, from the general area, and psychologist Jeannette Rivera, both from the federation, helped her with her baby.

“We are growing fond of the baby, and he is starting to like us, he seems to know us. Sometimes he gets tired of being on the mat and asks us to carry him”, said Barahona, who is also the technical manager of Fedeluchas.

Her two children, her family, and her unyielding passion for sport give Josselyn the extra motivation to maintain her desire to succeed and to seek a spot on the podium of the Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023.

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