The underlying meaning of the word ‘Salud’ is ‘good health’ which is an important part of our mission. In addition to producing healthy products in a sustainable way, we also encourage our employees, customers and consumers to be health conscious. Sport is a high priority for us. Not every talented athlete has the financial means to launch a professional career. We also know how difficult it is to build a foundation and keep the momentum going. This is why Salud Foodgroup developed the initiative ‘Together we make their dream come true’. Each quarter, we are going to shine the spotlight on an athlete and provide them with financial support—with the help of customers like you—to make their personal sporting dream a reality.

Miguel PEREIRA

3rd edition: France – Miguel Pereira
We support athletes from the countries where we export our products to. This quarter, it was the self-determined French-International Hockey player Miguel Pereira (22) who caught our attention. We talked to him about his sporting life.

‘Sport teaches you about your own body, to push yourself and how to manage stress and frustration.

Who is Miguel?
My name is Luis Miguel Pacheco Pereira and I am 22 years old. I am of Portuguese descent and I was born in Orleans. I played field hockey from the age of six. It is a sport that is not very widely covered in France, but I discovered through some of my older brother’s friends. I very quickly became hooked on the sport although it wasn’t my favourite at the time. Like the majority of children, I wanted to play football but the club was too far to go to on my own when I was six. After a few years at the C.L.T Orleans hockey club, I joined the CREPS, a sports training centre, at Châtenay-Malabry for three years. I have been at INSEP (French National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance) for the last six years so that I can practice my sport at the highest level (Paris 12). I also work as a supervisor at INSEP in the minors' building and study at the EDHEC business school.

What does sport mean to you?
Today, sport is part of my everyday life. In fact, I would say it is my priority every morning. In addition, I have to study and work at the same time so that I can play because it is an expensive sport. Sport has become like a drug to me, it is difficult to separate myself from it and therefore to stop playing. Sport, and in particular this sport, means that I go to bed and get up every day with very specific objectives and the main goal of achieving them. Sport also allows me to excel myself every day. It teaches you about your own body, to push yourself and how to manage stress and frustration. Now, sport is more about playing well rather than playing for fun. Of course, it is important to enjoy what you do, but when you are trying to compete at a high level, sometimes you have to know how to make sacrifices and suppress your urge to take time for yourself and rest. It is a daily struggle.

‘I have undergone five operations during which surgical errors were made.

Can you tell us about your childhood?
Sport played a part in my daily life from a very young age. When I was little, I was hyperactive and was always outside playing football, cycling, or in the playground from about three years old. At the age of five or six, I got into field hockey with my older brothers. I also practised several other sports through activities arranged by the school (judo, karate, handball, football and cycling). For me, sport was a way to let off steam, have fun and be with friends. Having two older brothers, I always wanted to be like them and skip ‘the steps’ I should be doing at my age. I always wanted to win, be better than them and show them that I could play at the same level as them so that I could play with them. Very quickly, I found that I had to increase my training sessions as a result. As well as letting me train with kids the same age as me, the coach let me train with my brothers and therefore, with people who were older than me by anything from two to thirty years. This allowed me to progress much more quickly and stand out in order to attend the France training centre at Châtenay-Malabry when I was 14 years old. Over time, I played all the international schools with the French U16, U18, U21 and A teams.

Miguel action

Wat has been your worst experience sofar?
My injuries have been my worst experience to date. I have undergone five operations (four on my left wrist and one for pubalgia) during which surgical errors were made. I still suffer from repercussions now and continue to play at a high level. It has made me lose an enormous amount of time not only in terms of progress but also in the training sessions I do now. I had to adapt because I cannot do certain things in the weights room. I have also had to change the way I play and therefore, my grip on the stick. Now, I have managed to get used to it, so it no longer stops me from making progress.

How do you prepare for a match?
In preparation for a match, we analyse the opposing team. We look at their playing style, the way they react to certain parts of the game so that we can determine the best strategy we can. As for me, I look at the players that I directly compete against. For example, when I play as an attacker, I look for any weaknesses in their defenders and when I play as a defender, I look at the strengths that their forwards have, and I also look for any weaknesses that I can exploit. This makes it possible to me to get to know my opponent really well and therefore, to stop them.

 

 

‘My ultimate goal is to be a medallist at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.’

What do you hope to have achieved in five years' time?
Five years seems like a long way off, but in reality it is quite close. First, I hope to join France’s senior field hockey team because I could not compete in the World Cup in December 2018 due to an injury I suffered shortly before it began. Following that, I hope we will qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games and win the European B cup. What’s more, qualifying for the world cup a second time will overcome the frustration I feel at not being able to compete the first time around. Of course, there will be other European cups after the 2020 Olympic Games. But my ultimate goal is to be a medallist at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Would you like to find out more about Miguel Pereira? Follow him online:
- Facebook: Miguel Pereira
- Instagram: Mig.pereira45.

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