Venezuelan athlete Dídimo Sánchez, who recently won the Marathon of Caracas 42K, explained the complexity of being an athlete in his country
Leer en español: Lo difícil de ser deportista en Venezuela
The serious economic and political crisis that Venezuela is going through is not a secret for anyone, and it has had a direct impact on different areas of society, including sports, which are faced with hundreds of difficulties every day and have many of their protagonists on the verge of abandoning their disciplines.
Recently, Latin American Post spoke exclusively with the champion of the first Marathon Caracas 42K and member of the national athletics team Dídimo Sánchez. Dídimo talked about the complexity of practicing high performance sports and the lack of support that currently exists in Venezuela.
"Last Sunday we ran the first Caracas Marathon, an event in which, although we were able to come out victorious, it is also worth saying that very few foreigners came because of the poor award, so there was little competition and spectacle; that does not mean that it was not strenuous from every point of view, especially because of the difficulties that the athlete has to prepare for an event of as much demand as a 42K", said Dídimo.
"In my country, we do not have athletes but heroes"
On the complexities faced by runners to stay active, the athlete pointed out that there are several causes, but he highlighted mainly the very high costs of working equipment and food, in Venezuela's current context.
"In my country, we do not have athletes but heroes, because you have to be a true hero to keep doing high-performance sports, since money does not come at all. The little that one earns is not enough for an optimal diet, much less for footwear and not to mention the vitamin supplements and medicines that we as athletes should consume. The truth is that it is difficult and being competitive internationally is already a lot ".
Similarly, the long distance runner who has played Pan American, South American, and even reached the minimum mark required by the Olympic Games of Rio 2016, said that not only is it difficult to practice physical activity due to limitations of individual athletes, but the lack of support on the part of the entities in charge of the national sport is also added to this, which do not help the athletes so that they can prepare themselves in a dignified manner or attend world-class events.
"The support from the national agencies in charge of governing the sport is practically null. You do not go to international events or concentrations and salaries are useless, which leads to two things; one, the desertion of hundreds of athletes who leave because of lack of money, and the other, the departure of many others from the country who try to compete on behalf of other countries".
Finally, Sanchez, who hopes to be part of the national team that will attend the South American Games in Cochabamba after the victory in the Caracas Marathon, took the opportunity to send a message to sports practitioners in Venezuela, so they do not lose heart and continue fighting for what they love, reminding them that surely the crisis will not be eternal and better times will come for everyone.
"My message goes to all of us who love discipline, so that they do not stop fighting. We must try to move forward in our spaces for the country we love so much, so that we will soon be able to occupy the place of honor and respect that we used to have in Latin America".
Latin American Post | Freddy González
Translated from "Lo difícil de ser deportista en Venezuela"