The winner of the Paralympic Games was given a quota for the recent Birmingham 2022 World Games. When champion Paterson Pine withdrew, Zuniga was offered the spot in her place.
“It was also a surprise. I didn’t expect to be part of this event,” said Mariana. She finished 17th, losing her opening match by just one point. “Those two events were so amazing and they are one of the greatest moments of my life. I really appreciate all the experiences with the people there, the level that all the compound women have shown, not just my achievements.
She has come a long way since that first field archery competition.
“I started competing three years ago in January. In March and April, I participated in my first international events. I was in a dream,” she said. “I remember I talked to my mum and said, ‘Can you imagine that? I could travel all over the world competing, visiting beautiful places. My mum was like, ‘oh yeah, that would be unbelievable’.
“And now I live in this dream,” she continued. “I always say that archery is the best thing that can happen to me. It came into my life to teach me some very important things.
Zuniga will not be competing at the World Archery Field Championships when they begin next week in Yankton. She will compete in her home country of Chile at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Championships in November – in the able-bodied and impaired events, where she has a chance to qualify for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
“It’s an essential part of my life,” Zuniga said when asked about her future in the sport. “I feel like I have my second family there. My life has completely changed because of archery.