Venezuela's crisis also affects athletes. Such is the case of Dídimo Sánchez, Julio Mirena, and Lilibeth Chacón. LatinAmerican Post talked with them
Nothing and nobody escapes the crisis originated by the Venezuelan government, which has not only destroyed the economic, productive, social and cultural system but also, progressively, has been ending with the sport and its athletes.
Leer en español: Deportistas Venezolanos: otra cara de la crisis
From LatinAmerican Post, we present you three testimonies of Venezuelan athletes, who shined for being top competitors, and today they have to start from scratch.
The racing skater Julio Mirena , two-time junior world champion and recently double bronze medalists at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Cochabamba. Decided to give up running with the national team due to the lack of support from the leadership of Venezuela. Today he trains peacefully in Colombia, waiting for a prudential time to run for another continental team. He explains how the situation of many of the country's athletes is.
According to Julio himself, the situation of sports in Venezuela is unsustainable, and every day will be more critical: "Event after an event we see that the performance of Venezuelan athletes is much lower, and this is due to the lack of support from the sports, which is the one that should give us support and does not do it".
"In my case, they owe me prizes, scholarships and my last preparations for competitions have been depressing. To give an example, the Central Americans of Cochabamba, which were at 2,800 meters above sea level, arrived 24 hours earlier, and those who know about this, know that without adaptation time, nothing is achieved ".
The most praiseworthy, as the skater explains, is that Venezuelan athletes despite all the difficulties always give the maximum of their effort with everything and the paltry remunerations.
"With everything and that, although we are no longer a sports power, we are always up, leaving Venezuela at the top".
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The marathon runner Dídimo Sánchez is currently the best long distance running athlete in Venezuela. Even so, it receives virtually no support from the national government. For this reason, for several months now, and in the company of his wife and little daughter, he undertook new challenges in Paipa, Colombia. There he aims to stay in his sport, but above all to ensure the future of his family.
For Dídimo, the most difficult thing while he was an athlete in Venezuela was threefold. First, not having many times to satisfy the hunger of their relatives. Then, not have the tools or food to train and compete. Finally, the stress that represents living in the crisis (queues, lack of transportation, inflation, shortages) that diminished their mental focus to make their sport.
"It was difficult to leave my country and more with my whole family. We had a house, a car, friends, but we did not have the means to maintain ourselves there. A prize in a career in Venezuela is not enough to replace the pair of boots used to participate in it, which is why, after much thought, in addition to not having any scholarship or being supported by the sporting leadership of any kind, I decided to go to Colombia, a nation that has welcomed me and I feel happy in it, "he said.
Continues the Venezuelan, who trains more than 2800 meters above sea level and day by day improves their records. "I already have several months in Paipa and from here I have the mental and physical capacity to take on my career. In addition, I have achieved financial support for, apart from giving food and shelter to my wife and daughter, be close to my best times as an athlete and have the base to compete in some events of the continent and Europe and go in search of my great dream that is to classify Tokyo 2020 ".
The professional cyclist of route and track Lilibeth Chacón , who is also runner-up in the Vuelta a Colombia, three times Pan-American champion, European calendar runner with the team Michela Fanini and added to that multiple medalist in the last Bolivarian, Central American and South American Games, It is one of the most emblematic cases in having taken a positive turn in his sports career. When she lived in Venezuela, she practically did not have how to pay for her residency and she was even robbed twice and stripped of her competition bicycle, today she lives quietly traveling the world thanks to her discipline.
In the words of Lilibeth herself, who a couple of years ago left the country and quickly signed a contract in Colombia thanks to her inexhaustible talent, her last days in Venezuelan land were a calvary.
"While one is happy living in their land, the opportunities each day close more. I had to leave Venezuela because I did not even have the energy drinks of my training, and although it is not easy to deal with realities such as loneliness and culture, today I feel calm running out. I do a lot of competitions a year, I travel the world and badly what good I have to live," she says, who for many is the best Venezuelan cyclist of all time and one of the best on the continent.
Without a doubt, this is Venezuela. It is a crisis, chaos, and uncertainty due to everything professed by the socialist government of Nicolás Maduro. But also, just as that is, it is also talent, effort, commitment and love, and that is demonstrated daily not only by Dídimo, Julio and Lilibeth but also by the millions of fighters born in "land of grace" who today struggle outside their borders.
LatinAmerican Post | Freddy González
Translated from: 'Deportistas Venezolanos: Otra cara de la crisis'
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