His Bronze Medal, obtained in the 59kg weightlifting category behind People’s Republic China’s QI Yongkai and Sherif Osman from Egypt, was the culmination of a long and illustrious athletic career.
Aceituna’s had a meteoric rise in the sport: he is the first Salvadoran weightlifter who has participated in a Paralympic Games (Rio 2016) and had made his mark right through the Para Pan American Games of Lima 2019 where he won the Gold Medal) that made his victory persevered.
However, the road for El Salvador’s national flag-bearer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 has not been an easy one.
“I was bullied when I started attending school. But in the end that no longer mattered to me because my parents showed me what is really important [in life]. I will not deny that that was a challenging period [in my life] because you want to play and socialise with others…,” Aceituno said.
“With the issue of discrimination, in the end I said ‘God knows why’. I started studying, I got to high school and the same thing happened to me. But a friend told me ‘let’s go to the gym’. My friend always encouraged me to go. So I went,” he explained.
Kike, as he is often called made his international debut at the 2016 World Cup held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which coincided in the same time window as the Paralympic Games that year.
His ambition has always been to win a Paralympic medal.
“Disability comes from the mind, not the body,” he went so far as to declare three days ago upon his arrival at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Village.
Aceituno was born with achondroplasia, which limited his growth possibilities at an early age, as well as hydrocephalus.
“The doctors told my mother that I would only live for three months.”
That incorrect diagnosis gave him enough resilience to cope with a complicated childhood and adolescence whilst growing up.
However, Aceituno found his place when he discovered sport at 20-years-old.
“Sport is important because it opens many doors for you. Sometimes you think that nothing is going to happen with sport and yes, it even opens friendships. Even with sports I feel motivated. Many people who say I can’t do it, see my case and say ‘if he could do it, I can do it too’,” he concluded. (Agencies)