regular-article-logo Tuesday, 06 June 2023

Birmingham CWG: Hair-raising story of a paddler

Javier Sotomayor works full-time as a hairdresser in one of the only three salons on the South Atlantic archipelago

PTI Birmingham Published 29.07.22, 03:32 AM
Javier Sotomayor (L).

Javier Sotomayor (L). MercoPress

Javier Sotomayor, Falkland Islands’ sole table tennis representative at the Commonwealth Games, works full-time as a hairdresser in one of the only three salons on the South Atlantic archipelago.

The 36-year-old also happened to be the first paddler to play for Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory, in the history of CWG.


And he can only thank his day job as a hairdresser for his big moment at the Birmingham Games.

“In 2006 I was working in Santiago as a stylist and someone who had opened a hair salon in the Falklands flew toChile to find hairdressers,” said Sotomayor, who is originally from Chile. “I went to work for them for one year, then came back to Chile. After getting married, I went back to the Falklands and opened our business, Belle Hair Salon.”

Sotomayor has been there ever since, combining two of his passions.

“I started playing table tennis when I was nine, and wasNo.6 in Chile when I was 12. I played for five more years but stopped because of study and work. I started again in the Falkland Islands around eight years ago because I missed it a lot,” he said.

He is now working hard to continue the growth of the sport in the country.

“We are only four players. We try to do the best because we are not professionals,” Sotomayor said. “We don’t have any competition. I went to the Island Games three years ago but the CommonwealthGames will be completely different.”

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