Jane Karla: On The Short Road to Home Rio Olympic Games

22 March 2016
Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
Diagnosed with poliomyelitis at a young age, Jane practised sports as part of her rehabilitation. First in table tennis and now in archery, she’s already a three-time Pan-Am Champion.

Jane’s condition, known more commonly as polio, is caused by a virus and can cause muscle weakness and inability to move, and means she needs to use a wheelchair.

At the Rio 2007 Pan-American Games, Jane Karla Gogel became Brazil’s first ever para table tennis athlete to win two gold medals, and to be third to make the table tennis world ranking.

Three years later, in 2010, she started a battle against breast cancer that she recently won. During this time, Jane never stopped practising sports but, as life progressed, she faced a choice between moving to another city to persist with table tennis or give something else a try.

She chose archery.

From beginner to intermediate, her performance quickly improved. The dedication paid-off when, just one year later, she was selected for the Brazilian archery team at the Para Pan-American Games in Toronto in 2015, where she won gold.

With her choice in sport proven a good one, Jane set herself another goal. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games would be on home soil, and she wanted to shoot in them – but that’s not all. While the compound open archer has proven herself a para contender, she also wanted to shoot in the able-bodied team.

“The week before the trials, everything went wrong,” said Jane. “First we were trapped in our house and everything was stolen. After that, my husband got ill with dengue and then, during practice day, my rest broke, so I had to shoot with my second bow.”

Through adversity, Jane prevailed. She qualified for the national team at the Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Medellin, Colombia and the Pan American Archery Championships in Costa Rica, both to be held in May 2016.

She’s the first para archer to make the able-bodied national team in Brazil.

“I’m very happy with the result and I will continue my preparation to represent Brazil with pride at all these competitions,” she said.

As host nation of the next Paralympic Games, Brazil has guaranteed places in each of the competition categories it entered an athlete into at the previous World Archery Para Championships. Karla, who finished eighth at that event in Donaueschingen, Germany – the highest of Brazil’s three-woman team in the category that participated – is well on the road (back home) to Rio.