Editorial – Guanacaste, why are you forgetting about your athletes?

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How is it possible that the best taekwondo athlete in Costa Rica lives in Guanacaste and he has to sleep on a matress on the floor of the sport’s federation when he goes to San Jose to train?

This is the reality that many athletes that represent the province face, both inside and outside of the country. All the money goes to soccer, the say. And it’s not hard to believe that.

One of the young athletes we interviewed for this week’s story in the sport’s section says that she doesn’t have enough money to buy a $200 javelin and that she only enjoys good conditions when she competes with the national team. But when she competes in Guanacaste, support is minimal.

Some go door to door seeking out sponsors, like asking for money for charity, while others are able to earn money doing temporary jobs or asking their parents for support. They search up and down to pull together the money the need to compete internationally.

We aren’t realizing that our province is forgetting about the young athletes that put a face to Guanacaste with their discipline and their passion, despite the bad conditions. Do businessmen, regional government institutions, large hotel chains and other businesses ignore them because they don’t know who they are or because the prefer to pay attention to other, more popular sports?

Unlike soccer, in these other disciplines we aren’t talking about millions of colons. If all the businesses in a community untied, they wouldn’t need to take a ton of money out of their pockets, and their brands would be associated with athletes who win medals worldwide and not only with those who appear to television and lose time and time again.

If we are going to be proud Guanacastecans, let’s not only be pround on July 25 or in the Guanacaste Sport Association’s stadium. Let’s think of this province much more than just surf and soccer. There is talent here, and lots of it.