March 21 – International Down Syndrome Day
Athlete overcomes prejudices and has a goal to participate in international tournaments in 2023
Photo: Personal archive
Elaine Vieira – special for the Diário
This March 21, World Down Syndrome Day, formalized by the United Nations (UN) in 2012, not only celebrates the lives of people who have the syndrome, but also talks about rights, inclusion and the possibility of people with Down being and doing whatever they want. This year’s goal for Matheus Domingues Moreira, 18 years old, is to complete the entire circuit of competitions of the Brazilian Confederation of Inclusive Judô (ABJI) and return to international competitions, especially the 23rd edition of the tournament in Beverwijk, Holland, of Special Needs Judo Foundation and Special Needs World Judo Games.
Down syndrome is a genetic alteration in which the person has three chromosomes in the 21st pair, and not two, as usual. Therefore, the syndrome is also called trisomy of chromosome 21, or simply T21. According to the Ministry of Health, this chromosomal alteration is the most common among people.
The change did not prevent Matheus, with a lot of willpower and encouragement, from getting involved with the sport and becoming a judoka affiliated with the Judo Federation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FJERJ).
“Her biggest challenge was when, as a baby, she was diagnosed with a heart valve that would not close on its own and would require surgery. But, God reserved for him one of the best medical teams in this matter and everything was resolved. After that, he underwent physiotherapy and, after a while, he began to practice sports in his swimming life”, comments André Moreira, the young man’s father.
Before that, the athlete also took football lessons, a sport he is passionate about and a fan of Fluminense and Barcelona. “However, the football experience was disastrous because Matheus was unable to develop due to prejudice between students and the children’s parents”, says André.
Matheus started practicing judo at age 8. His debut in official competitions was in the 1st Stage of Judo for All in Rio de Janeiro – Breno Viola Trophy in 2014. And since then he has been standing out in more than 40 competitions in municipalities in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Santa Catarina, in addition to the 20th Edition of the tournament in Beverwijk in the Netherlands in 2018.
The athlete was literate at the age of 10. He is currently attending the 9th grade of elementary school at the Fábrica do Saber Municipal School, where he accompanies a regular class. During the week, he also does weight training at the gym.
With the support of the whole family, Matheus’s greatest encouragement comes from his mother, Valéria Domingues, who also practices judo and makes a point of accompanying her son’s training and competitions.
Focused and dedicated, it is in sport that André sees the opportunities for Matheus’ life.” He loves Judo to the point of waking up and asking if it’s training day. In competitions he concentrates on what he’s going to do, he takes it seriously, although he respects it, he doesn’t like defeat and charges himself for it.
The athlete will participate in the 23rd Edition of the Tournament in Beverwijk, Holland, of the Special Needs Judo Foundation and Special Needs World Judo Games, which takes place from April 14th to 16th of this year – specialized competitions for athletes with disabilities. To pay for the trip, the family is running a campaign to sell skipping ropes. To help, just contact the numbers (24) 98869-1208 or (24) 98869-0812. The pix is CPF 125.169.337