The Colombian is the only disabled athlete with a professional card in Latin America
In March of 2008, Colombian golfer Ari López was at a party in Bogotá. After a fight with a friend of his, this shot him two bullets that produced him two wounds in his left leg. That day Lopez's life changed.
Of the two projectiles, one destroyed the bone and the femoral artery. Lopez was hospitalized for four days, so the doctors decided -with his father's authorization- to amputate his left leg.
"Even though I tried to lift my leg, it did not respond. After that, I lost consciousness”, said Ari Lopez in an interview conducted by the newspaper El Tiempo in 2017. Lopez recalled the moment when his orthopedist told him coldly to forget to continue playing:" I do not know any golfer play with prosthesis and you will not be either ..."
The words of the specialist were the springboard that motivated him every day to continue his struggle to start over from scratch. From the age of fourteen, López worked as a "caddy" at the Guaymaral Golf Country Club and it was thanks to the motivation of his father that he dedicated himself to practicing this discipline.
Gumercindo López, father of the golfer, was a golf champion in the senior category of the Colombia Golf Open. Thanks to his support and perseverance Ari López was able to re-start his training eight months after the surgery with the help of an iron prosthesis that has helped him to continue his goals.
"One day I took a stick, I started to hit the ball and then I continued with the help of some crutches. Therefore, I could play a professional tournament, and although the result was not the expected, I realized that I could", Lopez said in an interview with El Tiempo. In dialogue with the magazine specialized in golf "FullSwing", the golfer said that before the accident he participated in several professional tournaments without favorable results and after the event that transformed his life, Lopez managed to rank in the position seven out of ten of the Q- School - PGA Colombia.
Lopez is the only golfer with disabilities who has a professional card in Colombia and Latin America, which allows him to participate in several international tournaments. In fact, today, Ari Lopez is an international promise in this sport.
After 23 years playing golf, the dream of the athlete is to compete in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020, according to Lopez in the program "Deportes 360" of Caracol Colombia. To achieve this goal, López has worked on the biomechanics of his movements, since he must strengthen other areas of his body due to the lack of his left leg, which for any golfer is the basis of a good swing.
Currently, Lopez, 38 years old, leads a campaign for his own foundation called: "Together for sport." The campaign pretends to teach golf to victims of armed conflict who have been disabled, opening in this way a new opportunity and a different lifestyle.
Latin American Post | Luis Alfonso Fernández
Translaed from “ Ari López: Un golfista con fuerza de hierro”