James Ford (24) it is against time. the born in Cuba arrived almost four years ago Chili with the illusion of being nationalized and representing the country, but the process got bogged down and today the athlete is very close to being excluded from the Santiago 2023 Pan American Gamesas much as this is a serious medal card in the Decathlon.
“Somehow they want me to be at the Pan American Games, but the process, no doubt, is going a little slow. In September, I will be four years old and today, if you ask me, I see myself outside the Pan American Games”, he worries during a conversation with AS Chile.
His angst is obvious. “I have already missed an Olympic cycle to prepare myself well for the next one, because you don’t do it in six or eight months. It takes years to arrive in optimal conditions,” he admits.
– You said that the nationalization process was “a bit slow”. Because?
– After becoming national, I have to wait four to six months to be able to compete. If we start making calculations, we are almost at the limit (of the Pan American Games).
– What sporting situation are you thinking of at Santiago 2023?
– Right now, I can’t fight for a Pan American medal. I see myself inside this top, but it’s very difficult because of the conditions I’m training in now, it’s not working for me. Right now I can be a Pan Am finalist, but I want to fight for a medal. In 2016 I finished fourth in the world and that result, if you transfer it to today, in Latin America, nobody beat me. It motivates me to continue, but I already need better preparation. I have no sponsors for the training process.
– When you say you can’t fight for a medal today, are you referring to the lack of sponsors to cover the process or because you don’t have a suitable place to train?
– Right now I’m at the High Performance Center, but it’s not just training for training. You have to have a plan. I train in the morning because I also have to work (N. de la R: he is an athletics teacher in a high school). The truth is, I don’t have time to do things and I’m wasting workouts. I have to compensate because I have a family, a son and there are obligations to respect. I have practically no sports clothes, but I leave material things aside. What I mean is competition overseas. I’m going to be here for four years and I haven’t been able to participate in an overseas competition representing Chile. The Federation tells me that I cannot compete because I am not a national, but I can do it without being Chilean in the GP (Grand Prix). Now there are dates in Argentina, Bolivia, but I need to have the opportunity to participate.
– Do you have the impression that they put obstacles in your nationalization so as not to invest in you?
– Sometimes I have the impression that there are obstacles, they are internal problems. I want to represent Chile, wear the colors and make Chileans proud of me. I improved my times, I was national champion, I won in Orlando Guaita… I don’t know what’s going on. Give me the opportunity, because every time it passes, we don’t go to the Pan American Games.
– Did you find a situation different from the one you were told about before coming to Chile?
– Totally. I swear to you that today I saw myself already nationalized and ready to compete at the highest level. Now I say “how is it possible that at the Games that will be held here, they will not give me the opportunity to compete?” I give an example: if there were six other athletes and they thought that I could eclipse them, but in Chile there is no one in this test. The last figure in the Chilean decathlon was (Gonzalo) Barroilhet and he retired many years ago. From then until now, no one else has left.
– Do you think that because you are not Chilean by birth, you had more problems?
– No, no, because several comrades have been nationalized. Yasmani Acosta and Arley Mendez, for example. I don’t know how the federations are managed, but their federation supported them. Yasmani won a medal and was not yet nationalized. I don’t know what is happening with my federation, but we are losing time which is not recovered.
– Do you see the initiative of the authorities or does it all depend on you?
– I moved heaven, sea and earth to find an answer because to date, no one has approached me. Only the friends of the Olympic Committee and the people who tell me that everything is done, but the problem is in the athletics federation. If they don’t let me know, if they don’t apply for me, it’s hard for the question to go beyond that. Everything that is done is on my insistence and that of my coach.
– With what you have experienced during these years and putting us in the hypothetical case where you were offered the option of representing Chile, would you have taken it or would you have stayed in Cuba?
– In Cuba I would not have stayed, but I would have thought things a little more. I had made the decision to leave Cuba years ago, since I didn’t see myself in the media because of a lot of things they did to me there. I might have thought of another country, but we can’t go back. Of course, I want to clarify something: I want to stay in Chile. My life is here, I feel good here, but I want them to give me the opportunity to compete.
– Do you find explanations?
– I don’t know why my procedure took so long. I know the pandemic and the social epidemic has affected him, but if you want to do something, you can. I know I can make a contribution to the country and by that I mean get a medal. If it wasn’t, no Egg much as we say here. The marks show it to me.
– Do you consider Paris 2024 more feasible than Santiago 2023?
– It’s because if I don’t go through Santiago, I don’t know how I’m going to get to Paris. For me, it’s a meter, because top athletes will come and if you don’t compete with them, you don’t know how you are doing. I haven’t competed at a good level in over three years and it weighs on you.
– In the best of cases, that is to say to accelerate the process of nationalization. How long would you give yourself to prepare?
– In a hypothetical case, if I became national at the end of the year, I would have to run at least the first six months of 2023 and do everything that we haven’t done so far. Generate competitive friction. I should have a monthly appointment, but as I told you before, I have to go four or five months without international competition. It’s like a blockage to put it in a way.
– How did this whole process go mentally?
– There are days when the world collapses on me, when I don’t feel like training because I don’t see a future, but I was able to hold on because I know what I am can give. I have to be ready when a door opens, because I know that time is coming. I try to win the battle day by day.
#Today #drama #medal #letter #Santiago