The four members of the national archery team who won their ticket to the Archery World Cup held in Dubai last February were unable to travel because coach Sandra Loza Tenorio did not know how to ask Conade for the money, Cathia Valdés, one of the people involved, told the Proceso. She says she is being discriminated against because, she says, managers continue to see paraathletes as “people you can’t transcend”. And he insists: it was planned that we would not go, and he attacks the boss of the Mexican Archery Federation, Santiago Avitia.
MEXICO CITY (Process).- The National Paraarchy Team Cathia Valdés denounces the discrimination, lack of empathy and lack of interest towards paraarchers by the president of the Mexican Archery Federation (FMTA), Santiago Avitia . The federation, he said, refused to provide them with the financial resources to participate in the World Archery Para Championships held in Dubai last February.
Cathia won her ticket for this world exhibition during the national parashooting selection held last November in Zinacantepec, State of Mexico; The same was done by his colleagues Samuel Efrén Molina, Omar Echeverría Espinoza and Lya Tadeo Sánchez.
Ranked number one nationally in the standing category (despite only having one leg that she can pull while standing), Cathia is world number 52. The importance of attending the Para Archery World Championships lies in the fact that this event awards points for the Olympic ranking.
“It prepares you for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. From this competition we were going to be ranked because it’s the start of the Olympic cycle,” the shooter told Proceso.
The president of the FMTA has instructed coach Sandra Loza Tenorio, who also serves as the commissioner of this sports body, to make the request for resources for the movement of athletes to the competition before the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport (Count).
However, Loza did not know how to apply for the money and a few days before leaving for Dubai, those selected were informed that if they wanted to go, they would do so with their own resources.
Cathia says: “Santiago Avitia and Sandra Loza blew us all away; to the entire Mexican team. The disinterest of the president of the Federation of archery for people with disabilities for this discipline is more than obvious. It is not possible that until now there has not been a statement to explain what happened.
“If you check the federation page, there are a lot of announcements from the conventional archery team, and there is absolutely nothing about people with disabilities.
“So for the conventional, yes, there are those who take the steps in due time, they know how to do it so that the resources come out, but not for us. It is obvious that there is discrimination and an obvious lack of information. There are never any writings (on the skills of the paraarchers), everything is managed orally”.
After the four selected won their ticket to attend the World Cup, the FMTA released their names in a statement and reiterated that they would have the guarantee and the money, according to the appeal.
Similarly, on November 30, 2021, the FMTA also informed the goalkeepers that Sandra Loza and Hilda Martell would be the coaches attending the World Cup with them. They would be in charge of the logistics for the trip of the Mexican delegation.
Later, via a WhatsApp group, Loza told them that they had planned a concentration at the Mexican Paralympic Center, starting February 2, to start their preparation for Dubai.
Those selected were left pending confirmation. I never arrive. On January 29, Coach Loza wrote to them again and told them that the process before Conade had been delayed:
“Mr. Samuel Pérez Portillo de (la) Conade, who is our methodological technician, has just told me that he does not consider it prudent (that) the concentration be carried out, because it would take little time; He suggests that we follow the preparation in our States.
Given the cancellation, Valdés contacted Samuel Pérez, who told him that the merger had not happened because there had never been a request from the FMTA for it to take place. “That is to say, they weren’t going to let us through because no one had asked for it; it didn’t exist”, recalls the paraarcher.
From then on, the only means of communication between athletes and coaches was via WhatsApp. Loza always assured them that the procedures to obtain the economic resources to travel to the World Cup were going well.
However, on February 17, two days before their trip to Dubai, Loza informed them that they would not attend the World Cup “due to lack of money”, but told them that they had the option of attend with their own resources or with sponsorship.
“I was shocked. It had already been many days of training, wondering what was going to happen, without having a clear answer. Loza told us that there were no resources and that we had to also be aware that as athletes we have to invest (to practice our sport), ”explains Valdés.
He immediately showed up at the Conade facility to speak personally with Samuel Pérez. The methodologist told him that for Sandra Loza “the procedures were complicated”. The documents he submitted to Conade were returned to him due to errors and observations, which is why everything was delayed. In the end, the money request was not approved.
“She told me that they didn’t know how to do the paperwork, deplores Valdés, bronze medalist at the Parapan American Games in Barranquilla in 2018. She expresses her anger and frustration because, she says, she and her teammates had a very difficult preparation. to go to the world championship… and they found themselves without competition.
Cathia Valdés assures that the main culprit is Santiago Avitia, due to the lack of interest in paraarchers, as their priority is conventional athletes.
It is the president, he assures, “the one who is responsible for assigning the task. He asks Sandra to carry out the process, let’s say directly. In this sense, she is not responsible, but she is her curator. If she didn’t know what to do, she wouldn’t have launched her anger.”
– Could you speak with Santiago Avitia at some point?
-Yes, I spoke with the President on February 18 and he told me that the documents were submitted in a timely manner, but that the appeal “did not go through”. Then Samuel Pérez comes to tell me that “it didn’t work” because they never put the papers in and the money was frozen.
“One says one thing and the other another. When I spoke with Avitia, I asked her if I managed to get the money on my own, I would be guaranteed to go to the World Cup. And he said to me, ‘No, don’t go. I will withdraw Mexico from the World Cup”. But I already knew that Sandra would go with Omar (Echeverría Espinoza), so why not me and can he? After that day, the president of the federation never again answered a call.
– If Avitia had given you the green light to go to Dubai with your means, would you have done it?
– No, because we are a team. I am not Mexican, I was not the only one to have won a place. I think we all had the same right to travel, we earned it.
Omar Echeverría Espinoza, who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, made it to the Dubai World Championships thanks to sponsors. However, he suffered as the airline lost his sports equipment and he had to compete with a borrowed bow. The goalkeeper had other complications, since he was also not registered for the competition.
Sandra Loza traveled with her sister Ana, who has nothing to do with the FMTA. Both formed the body of coaches of the Paralympic athlete. In the end, Echeverría competed representing Mexico, since the country was not abandoned as Santiago Avitia told Cathia Valdés.
“My conclusion is that this is a violation for people with disabilities, they continue to treat us as people we cannot transcend. It was planned that we would not go. If we had received the attention we deserve, we would have participated in the World Cup. This is corruption and discrimination, I said to Avitia himself: “Don’t discriminate against us like that”.
Cathia Valdés points out that it is possible that later the FMTA will send the national teams to another competition to compensate them for not having gone to Dubai. She assures that accepting is not ideal, but she knows that she needs the training that she acquires only in international competitions.
“That I resign. If he’s not up to solving our problems, let him go. He should react and do something. I feel angry, violated and violated. I do it (the complaint) for me, my comrades and for all who come. I need the federation to support me and that there are no reprisals against me,” he concludes.
The journalist requested an interview with Santiago Avitia, who, after receiving the SMS, read it and blocked the phone number from which it was written.
Report published on March 3 in issue 2370 of Proceso magazine, the digital edition of which can be purchased at this link.