Sports: antidote to violence
Mariana Pajón, Catherine Ibargüen, René Higuita, Andrés Escobar, María Luisa Calle, Santiago Botero, Camilo Villegas, Sofía Gómez. They are familiar names with something in common: they found in Medellín a city that believed, supported and strengthened their talents to be world-renowned athletes.
And it is precisely in 1993, when the capital of Antioquia waged a bloody battle against the drug cartels and it was thought that the institutional response would be limited to strengthening the security forces of the State, the city made a commitment to the talent of children and young people. INDER was born, a dependency of the Mayor’s Office of Medellín that, aware of the potential and talent of its citizens, set out to democratize access to sports with a free offer. At the time, the new born entity would become an instrument of resistance to violence through coexistence and trust, generated around physical activity and recreation.
Today, 26 years later, Medellín has 886 public and free sports venues, where close to 720.000 people of all ages benefit monthly. As a resul of this and other banner programs such as the Popular Sports Schools, the city has positioned itself nationally and internationally as a sports power that has also seen in these spaces a powerful vehicle for social transformation. Medellín believes in sports as a worthy life project!
None of this has been in vain and the balance is more than positive. Hundreds of athletes forged on our city stages have lifted up the name of Medellín on multiple occasions and today we can proudly say we are the region that has contributed the most medals to the country. No less important is that it is the only city in Colombia where “the classic”, a soccer game that faces the two traditional teams of the house, is played in presence of the two fan clubs. Medellin definitely understood the role that sport should play in our societies.