He says it all started at the Reyes Católicos school in Vélez-Málaga, when one day shot put was on the agenda. "Although they thought it would be difficult for me with my stature, I said 'why not?' and I threw it," says Álvaro Jiménez Alonso, an athlete with achondroplasia, the most common cause of dwarfism.
That was the origin of his passion for athletics, which was ramped up when he met a Romanian Paralympic athlete while doing the Camino de Santiago. Now, only three seasons after starting out with the shot put, this 19-year-old athlete from Torre del Mar is Spain's record holder in his category (F-41). He achieved the fifth-best European score and he is now aspiring to qualify for the World Championships to be held in Doha in September.
Earlier this month, Álvaro Jiménez managed to surpass the seven-metre mark in the 21st Paralympic Meeting in Basauri (Vizcaya), an inclusive sport event attended by more than 250 athletes. He made a throw of 7.02m, beating his own Spanish record (6.66m), and achieving the fifth best distance in his category at European level.
"I've always said I can do anything," he says. "The day of the competition I was very motivated. I was throwing around 6.8 and 6.9m, but I got past seven metres in the end".
Jiménez started competing in Vélez-Málaga, for Rincón Fertilidad, three seasons ago. But this year he decided to go to Bilbao to start his university studies (Civil Engineering) but with sport on the side. "In Malaga there aren't any clubs which specialise in adapted athletics. That's why I came here," he says.
Since starting, he has been crowned Spanish champion in shot put and javelin (F-41) and also claimed gold for the Andalucía team in the Campeonatos de España de Deporte Adaptado por Comunidades in 2017 and 2018.
Now his sights are set on a World Championship. "This year's, in Dubai, will be a bit complicated," he admits, but at just 19, his career as an athlete has only just begun.