Thursday, October 29, 2009

First Youth Competition!

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Last Friday, October 23rd the Academia de Atletismo left at 9 in the morning and headed to the Olympic track in Managua to participate in the Youth Championship with a delegation of 13 athletes.

The kids had a blast and the time sped by as they had so many new experiences. For many of them this was one of the first times they had ventured to the the capital of Nicaragua. They asked about everything they saw - What building is that? Where are we now?Are we there yet? For two hours Roberto tried to answer all of their questions.

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As soon as they arrived at the track two and a half hours later, the nerves and tension began. Giovanni Dian, who runs the 300 meters was so nervous that he accidentally (an unknowingly at first) scratched his legs up with the spiked track shoes he held in his hands while warming up.

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The first day ended at 6:30 in the evening, after dark had settled over the stadium. Because the government had taken the lights previously installed at the track and re-installed them at the national baseball stadium, it made for difficult races. The children ran on instinct with only a bare vision of the white line of their lane to guide them. Unfortunately this situation will most likely continue since the stadium is shared with soccer teams until noon and so the races cannot begin earlier.

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The second day of competitions began at 5:20 in the morning and so they rose from their dormitories at 3 as they slept once again at a religious center about an hour away from the stadium.

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For his part, Roberto was very happy with the kids' performance. They earned 5 medals: one gold, three silver and one bronze. The competitions won were the 300 meter sprint, javelin, shot put, discus and hammer throw. Three of the medals were won by Raylinds Luquez and his gold earned him a spot in the central American championships in Costa Rica at the end of November.

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The National Athletic Federation will pay for Raylinds to go to Costa Rica and represent Nicaragua, their support includes his travel visa, transportation, lodging, food and athletic uniform.

However, since the Academia de Atletismo is one of the few clubs that takes all children, no matter how poor, it is more difficult for Raylinds' family to pay for his part, a passport, than most other athletes. We are hoping that either we or his family are able to find the money quickly so that our first champion can begin to reap the rewards of his hard work!

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