Benjamin Hockin in the 2008 Beijing Olympics was part of the British team, now however he will be the standard-bearer for Paraguay in Friday’s London summer games opening and convinced he will receive an even greater support.
Since the Games this time are in London “at least I’ll have some more support from the public” said the 25 year old swimmer at the Olympic villa in London. “I have many friends and family that will be coming to see me. I’m very happy to be here and proud to represent Paraguay”
Benjamin was born in 1986 in Colombia, the son of British parents. His father had been sent to Barranquilla, but a few months later he was transferred to Paraguay where his mother had been born. In Paraguay he learnt to swim and begun his first competitions but when he was 16 his family moved to Spain and later to the UK, where he begins competing internationally.
Following Beijing where he was a member of the UK 4x100 metres relay, Benjamin decided to return to Paraguay where he registered as a Paraguayan resident opening the way for him to compete with the colours of that country. But making the change was not easy.
“It was a sad period of my life but it motivated me to continue training and luckily I was on time for the World Swimming competition in Shanghai (July 2011) where I reached the semi-finals in the 50 metres butterfly”, says the 1.95 metres tall Paraguayan competitor.
These are Benjamin’s second Olympics but he is also well aware of his chances in London, if any, of surprising with a medal for Paraguay.
“My first goal was to classify, and I managed it on my own. The next goal is to lower the timing which helped me classify automatically, and was 1:47:69 in 200 metres free style”.
On Sunday he will begin competing at the London Aquatic Centre in the 100 metres free style and 100 metres butterfly, but before he will have the honour of carrying the red, blue, white Paraguayan flag during Friday’s opening parade.
“It’s a great responsibility. I am very proud of representing Paraguay and this means very much for me” says Benjamin in Spanish with a slight British accent.
In the last Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico (2011) Benjamin came back with a bronze and from an international competition in Spain with two silvers.