MILWAUKEE — It’s not every day you get to travel across the world to compete with Team USA in Thailand! Marquette University High School student Gianni Quintero, 15, will leave on Tuesday for the World Abilitysport Games. Click here to watch his full interview on Wisconsin’s Morning News.
When Quintero was six years old, he was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, which is an inflammation of part of the spinal cord. The neurological disorder left his left leg paralyzed. The high school sophomore’s ultimate goal is the Paralympics.
If you are interested in supporting Gianni in his trip to Thailand, click here to visit his GoFundMe page.
The games take place Dec. 1-9 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. In joining Wisconsin’s Morning News, Gianni told WTMJ that after applying for Team USA Worlds, he initially ranked 26th out of 22 available roster spots.
“I was like, ‘Well I mean, I can’t just give up,’ so I emailed the person back — I’m like, ‘I’m gonna stay on this waitlist; see what happens,'” Quintero explained.
In what felt like weeks to him, but was clarified as five days by his mother, Tiela Quintero, he got an email telling him he was accepted to represent his country.
“He hopped right out of his room and straight to me. He’s like ‘I’m going to Thailand!’ It didn’t matter if I was on a work call,” Tiela said through a laugh.
Gianni didn’t know that track was formally considered a sport until someone who works with his basketball coach suggested that he try it out. At first, he didn’t think he’d be interested, but that quickly changed.
“When I kinda got in the chair and started moving, I’m like ‘Okay, this might be something that I like,'” Gianni said.
In only his second year in the sport, Gianni is representing Team USA on the global stage. To help support his journey to Thailand, click here.
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