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Karen Sánchez and Karla Hernández practice their tackles for San Salvador 2023

2023 will be special for wrestlers Karen Lisseth Sánchez, athlete from the INDES Effort & Glory Program, and Karla Hernández. They are both starting their careers as major athletes, and they are motivated to compete in their first Central American and Caribbean Games, San Salvador 2023.

Sánchez learned her first holds and takedowns in 2017, after being invited by her classmates of Complejo Escolar Reino de Suecia, located in Mejicanos, to a wrestling practice organized by the Salvadoran Wrestling Federation (Fedeluchas).

“I have been practicing wrestling for six years, and this is my first year as part of the national team. I started practicing in the federation because of the encouragement of some classmates. The federation also visited the school to perform demonstrations and to promote the sport” the 21-year-old athlete commented.

Karen will compete in the 53 kg category, and after six years of sports career, she wants to earn a medal at the sports event hosted by El Salvador for the third time in story.

“Our goal is to train hard to reach the podium. The preparation is focused on improving physically and technically. Cuban athletes are visiting us, so that will help us to improve our level.

Karen knows that it will be a tough challenge, and she is training as hard as she can under the direction of coach Carlos Barahona.

“Our strongest rivals are Cuba and the Dominican Republic, which is why we need to train hard to defeat them. We are the host country, and we have to represent El Salvador as good as possible. Despite competing in the national team for the first time, I feel motivated, and I aspire to earn a gold medal”, she emphasized.

Besides wrestling, Karla studies Industrial Engineering at Universidad Tecnológica (UTEC), and she is part of the administrative staff of Diamond Club, a company in the tourist business.

“We are highly motivated to represent our country, and we are doing our best” I work from 6 to 9 in the morning, I train from 10: 00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and get back to work from 1 to 4 in the afternoon. I study at night from 6:00 to 8:00”, the athlete detailed when speaking about her daily schedule.

On her part, Karla Hernández will compete in the 50 kg category, and she has been practicing wrestling for more than a decade. She is Andrea Hernandez’s sister, also an athlete from the Effort & Glory Program, who is in Cuba, where she is in a training camp.

“I am preparing well, training hard daily to achieve top performance. My expectation for these games is to earn a gold medal for my country, and I see myself winning it”, Karla emphasized.  

Hernández explained that after graduating from high school in Centro Educativo Capitán Gerardo barrios, by the end of 2019, she could not pursue further studies and opted for sports.

Karla has a one-year-old child, Santiago Jared, who is her motivation to become better in every aspect, more so in sports.

“I think it will be a tougher competition than any other before, and we must continue training hard to achieve great performance. My goal is to participate in the Olympic Games and earn medals for my country”, she said.

The women’s wrestling shortlist is completed by Josselyn Tatiana Portillo, and Andrea Hernández.

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Karen Sánchez and Karla Hernández practice their tackles for San Salvador 2023 – San Salvador 2023