Name: Tomás Amaral
Occupation: Student and aerobics gymnast
Born in: São José, Ponta Delgada, island of São Miguel
Age: 13 years old
It all began by watching aerobics videos in the Internet. Once arisen the curiosity, the next step was to try Aerobic Gymnastics at Clube de Atividades Gímnicas de Ponta Delgada. Tomás Amaral was 8 years old and far from imagining that 5 years later he would be the first Portuguese to conquer the Gold Medal in the World Aerobic Gymnastics, which took place in the city of Guimarães, May 2018.
Our “frequent flyer” is a young Azorean, and at the age of 12 he achieved an historical result in Portugal’s Aerobic Gymnastics, conquering the highest score ever in the Junior Category, Male Individual.
Presently, the young athlete travels dozens of times a year to participate in competitions and traineeships, having obtained for several times the 1st place in national and international competitions as a result of his daily dedication combined with intense training and his talent and resilience.
The young gymnast´s focus is not to conquer awards but to overcome and continue to enjoy himself. In the competitions he stands out not only because of the technical quality of his performance, but also because of his happiness and genuine smile. These qualities result in a champion!
Being 13 years old you have already, with distinction, represented Portugal several times. How does it feel like to bring a gold medal to your country?
It is a fantastic feeling and a great pride! The gold medal and all the other awards that I have conquered so far have great meaning to me because they are the result of my work and dedication and took a lot of effort. They represent many hours of daily training – about 4 hours a day, 6 days of the week – which are compensated by the obtained results.
You dedicate a lot of time to aerobic gymnastics and even so you are a good student. What’s your secret to conciliate your sports activity with school?
I need to have an effective time management to be able to study when I am not practicing. Many times I have to sacrifice time with my friends to be able to have good school results and at the same time practise gymnastics.
You have already travelled a lot because of your sports activity. What was your favourite destination?
Although I don’t have much time to visit the places to where I travel because we have to practise, my favourite destination until now was Italy. We went to a traineeship in which we met gymnasts from other nationalities. That is always very rewarding and fun. I’ve also already been to many places in Mainland Portugal, Bulgaria and France.
What do you miss the most when you are not in the Azores?
I miss mainly my family and friends and also the Azorean fresh air.
What memories do you have from your first travel?
My first travel abroad was with Sara Silva, a Senior Gymnast, and with my coach, Alexandra Barroso. It was then that I realised that I wanted to do gymnastics at a more serious level. I was 9 years old then. That time I competed with Bulgarian and Russian athletes and conquered a 2nd place.
From the travels you made, which was one was the most special?
The most special one was last year, in May 2018, to the city of Guimarães where I became World Champion, Male Individual. I and Leonor Januário also conquered a place on the podium, with the Bronze Medal, in this World Championship (divided by ages). It was very special because I felt the entire country’s support and also from the other countries represented in that competition.
What is your dream trip?
I would like to go to New York and to Florida, in the United States, a country I think it is very developed and has lots of amusements and technology.
I would also like to visit São Tomé and Príncipe because of the beautiful landscapes and clear waters.
What are your goals for the future regarding aerobics?
I want to continue to do my best, with effort and commitment and, above all, enjoy myself to the maximum in the competitions.
Next season, in May 2020, I will be competing in the World Championship as Junior. I’m going to have to practise a lot to qualify to that competition in which only the two best athletes from each country can compete. And it is almost certain that The Junior World Champion 2018 and the Two-time European Junior Champion 2017 and 2019 will be present.