The shouts and leaps of passion for weightlifter Nissi Dagoms on August 1, 2021, after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, spread across the country and will undoubtedly remain one of the most important images in the history of Ecuadorian sport perhaps forever.
And not less. It was the first Olympic medal ever won by an Ecuadorean athlete. This achievement was followed days later by Tamara Salazar, who won a silver medal in the same Olympic discipline.
And this week, Neisi and Tamara once again demonstrated their quality by winning medals at the Bolivarian Games in Valledupar, Colombia.
But with both being Ecuadoreans with the most athletic dedication to date, they’re not the only ones. Other feminine names preceded them, although they did not achieve the victories of those carats, they left their mark. There are also, for example, weightlifter Alexandra Escobar, athletes Nancy Valicella and Martha Tenorio or chess player Martha Fierro, among many others.
Why did they not achieve the brilliance of the aforementioned Olympic medalists? Perhaps because during the time when sports in general, and women’s sports in particular, competed, they had little, if any, government and private support.
This is not to say that Neisi, Tamara, or other Ecuadorean athletes currently competing can be considered special, because they exchange every dollar invested in preparation, travel and competitions with sweat and joy.
Additionally, despite the fact that government and private sponsorship has improved in recent years for both men’s and women’s sports, in Ecuador it’s not even what our remote athletes deserve.
The scenario is similar in women’s football. The players, who today began their dream in Colombia to reach the 2023 World Cup, earned the right to be treated similarly, and not yet, like their male colleagues. But a lot is missing.