ASEA Athlete Julissa Diez Canseco has been part of the Peru National Taekwondo Team since 2003. A natural athlete who has competed in everything from volleyball to soccer to swimming and gymnastics, Julissa always dreamed of becoming an Olympian. She accomplished that dream in 2016 when she won the Pan Am Qualification in Mexico and represented her country in the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

Adapting to change

Over the past year, pandemic protocols limited Julissa’s ability to hold face-to-face sparring sessions, so she did most of her training at home. These workouts were focused on maintaining physical prowess and putting mental resilience into practice. Thankfully, many restrictive protocols have now been lifted.

“I was very happy to be back on the mat once training protocols were lifted,” says Julissa. “Now I’m really looking forward to stepping on the mat again in competition. For now, I seek to stay active and be ready for all the new challenges that are coming my way in competition. A mantra I keep repeating is, ‘I can do it!’”

New year, new goals

Julissa recently finished her university studies in Spain, where she graduated with a degree in biology and a master’s degree in business administration. Her main focus is to stay in good health and in good shape. While restrictions still limit normal competitive rhythm, Julissa is focusing on her own taekwondo students and teaching them to overcome obstacles through martial arts.

“Being a personal example and using my own example of perseverance helps the students keep a positive mindset,” she shares. “I feel happy with myself. Despite the difficulties, I have been learning and overcoming all obstacles. I have my family and the support of my team, which helps me continually fight for my dreams and improve myself as an athlete. Finding different training alternatives, staying in shape, and doing it all with zero contact was a challenge but it helped me be a better version of myself physically and mentally. Now more than ever before, I feel that I am capable of achieving everything I want.”