Born on the 23rd February 1979 and raised in Catalonia, Spain, Rafael Botello Jimenez spent almost every hour of his childhood playing outdoors, where his connection with sport began. At the age of 22, Rafael suffered a bicycle accident, which left him a paraplegic - and it's from this point his career with sport began.
"When I was young, I played football and I was the best in the town, but never in my life did I imagine that a bicycle accident would change my life so much. I did cycling and triathlon before as a hobby, but it was in May 2003 when I got introduced to handcycle racing by a friend of mine who also participated in it. He gave me every opportunity to succeed with it".
After 2 years of training, Rafael started his professional handcycling career. Competing at the 2006 World Championships in Sweden, Rafael won a gold medal in the 3,000 meter event. Becoming the first Spanish wheelchair competitor to complete the New York City Marathon in 2010, Rafael would follow up in later years with wins at the Paris Marathon and second place at the Los Angeles Marathon.
Enjoying the spirit of competition and the opportunity to travel the world, it's Rafael's dream to carry on what he feels is his passion in life - "Wishes are not fulfilled, they are made. I just want to carry on enjoying this sport. If I win, then that's just better! This sport has meant everything to me. It's let me travel to over 30 countries and given me friends in every single one of those countries. It's improved my quality of life and that of my family. But above all it makes me happy!"