The potential of combat sports to transform lives

04/08/2017 – Fundación ADA, a partner in Fight for Peace’s Global Network since 2015, is a Colombian non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote and develop programmes that help improve lives through sport and rehabilitation. The organisation works with a range of people including those with physical disabilities, high performance athletes with social and economic needs and people at risk of social exclusion.

Selección ADA, a programme supporting high performance athletes, has run since the organisation was founded in 2003 and serves to support young people who have the ability to achieve at the highest level in sports, but lack the means to continue training and working towards their goals. The success of this programme was recently underlined by the triumph of Rigoberto Uran in the 2017 Tour de France where the cyclist came runner up.

The young athletes on the programme receive economic support to allow them to continue progressing in their sporting careers, psychology tools, in order to develop their mental strength, sports implementation and ergonomic aids, support to participate in national and international events to facilitate competitive growth, nutritional supplements, medical support and student scholarships.

Following Fundación ADA’s inclusion on Fight for Peace’s Global Alumni Programme in 2015, Selección ADA began to include combat sports athletes in large numbers. This move has greatly strengthened the programme and has seen the emergence of a new project called Camino al Ring (Path to the Ring), which uses boxing and its life lessons to support young people from a highly vulnerable community in Medellín. This latter project is fruit of a partnership created between Fundación ADA and another Fight for Peace Global Network partner, Grupo International de Paz.

“Working with Fight for Peace made as recognise the potential of combat sports to transform lives. After seeing the great results of Camino al Ring, this year we decided to give a greater role to these sports in our programme for high performance athletes with social and economic needs. Our 2017 group is made up of athletes from different disciplines but 50% are from combat sports such as judo, karate, taekwondo, and boxing” explained Henry Aguirre, Director of Fundación ADA.

Selección ADA and Camino al Ring are Fundación ADA’s contribution to the historic reconciliation and peace process that Colombia is currently experiencing and for the organisation’s Director, the role of sport is central to this: “we seek to create new sports role models capable of inspiring other young people to see in sport a choice of life and the possibility of transforming their present and future. We have no doubt that through sport, we will generate new models of society.”