Photo by Maria Belen Aguirre, Deputy Minister of Sports: Courtesy of the Ministry of Sports
What is the purpose of the Ecuadorian delegation of the Bolivarians of Valledupar?
The Bolivarians are the first major event in the Olympic cycle to end in Paris 2024. As the Ministry of Sports, as the Government, we fund all the participation of the delegation 259 Ecuadorians will compete. In addition to the 2017 allocation for Bolivarians in Santa Marta, an investment of USD 200,000 has been made Expectations are high. We will have Olympic medalists Nessie Dazomos and Tamara Salazar, but also Angie Palacios and Alexandra Escobar, who have received Olympic diplomas and other world achievements. We are sure that they will place Ecuador in the ‘Top 3’ of the Games.
How many medals are you planning to win?
The projection is that it will surpass what was achieved in Santa Marta, where Ecuador has won 193 medals. We are sure we will surpass that number, but also aim to be in the top three of the medal table.
According to the Ecuador Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Sports has distributed 40% less than the requested budget for the Games. Why was everything not delivered?
First, it must be remembered that the Ministry of Sports receives a budget allocation, but also expects the annual plans of the agencies. Odebo, in charge of the Bolivarians, determines the entity that needs to plan the participation of the delegation. Then, in terms of assets, in effect, the COE requested about 4 1.4 million. However, after analysis, we allocated USD 820,000 for the intervention of 259 athletes and teams. This does not only include travel by athletes. This is an important investment and is scheduled for the 2017 Games.
However, fewer athletes will go to the Bolivarians than those who went to Santa Marta. Will it affect the goal?
Delegation analysis for an event is conducted by the COE in support of the Ecuadorian Federation through sports. This is a technical analysis that must be tested against the availability of resources. The ministry also has a role to play in controlling the proper use of resources. We bet on efficiency. Just because there is a larger delegation does not mean that more medals will be awarded. We have 259 athletes, but their height is a lot. We have standard-holder Alexandra Escobar, who is participating in Bolivarianos for the sixth time; And Gerlon Congo, fifth in the world in its division. We have the position of athletes at the international level.
Was there a lack of self-management to close the budget?
Sports bodies at all levels, from the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee to the Ecuadorian Federation, a provincial sports federation, cantonal, neighborhood or parish league, are obliged by law to self-manage their activities. Resources can be obtained through other sources for the promotion of sports. In previous editions, the COE reported that it contributed to the financing with resources for self-management. This year, unfortunately, we realized that he was unable to get these resources and so the government financed everything.
Why the lack of self-management in sports organizations?
This has been a difficult time. The epidemic has had a negative impact on the economy and corporate sponsors being part of the process. But, on the other hand, we have a tax incentive that is well received. From the Ministry, we have mentioned more than USD 2.3 million from the private sector for the sports sector. Self-management must be strengthened from all angles: first, the position of a project in the power of an organization or manager. The Ministry works to promote this training.
How does the Ministry of Sports distribute a budget of USD 70.5 million for high performance?
The government has decided on a new high-yield plan, not only because of innovation but also as an institution in public administration, we must define a four-year investment project. We have a project whose financing is over USD 70 million, the highest in history, set for high efficiency. We have emphasized the mental health of athletes. The lion’s share of the 70 million is distributed through disability in the Ecuadorian Federation through sports, COE, the Ecuadorian Paralympic Committee and the Ecuadorian Federation. This year, we are already financing USD 8 million. And we plan to fund at least three million more by the end of this year.
How will the rest of the money be distributed?
Next year it will allocate an average of USD 15 to 17 million to meet the 70 million target. Also, we have considered doubling the Ecuadorian delegation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We have worked closely with companies and have made Guayaquil the headquarters of the Bolivarians 2025. With that, an investment has come and some 23 23 million has been pledged.
Ecuador has won three medals at the Tokyo Olympics. How do you guarantee that you will get them again?
Much depends on the consistency and support that athletes receive not only through the Ministry of Sports, but also directly from sports organizations. They come from the sports base, from a sector that is usually coordinated by a provincial sports federation. These sports organizations get the most resources from the Ministry of Sports. We have allocated about US 35 35 million for 24 provincial sports federations.
Maria Belen Aguirre Crespo Ecuador and the current Deputy Minister of Sports. He holds a master’s degree in political consultation, a degree in international business and a higher certification in training in negotiation, mediation and political dialogue and participation of local citizens. He has competed in trail running (40 km) and ultra background (50 km).