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The commitment and love for the homeland of a soldier doesn’t have limits. For that reason in spite of the wounds that the war has left them, nearly 80 members of the Military Forces and from the Police continue their fight for a better Colombia, but this time not from the combat fields but from the sport’s trenches.
For some people there are difficult goals, although not impossible. For others, they are unreachable. Inside that group, obviously, the Military Forces handicapped soldiers, for whom there is nothing impossible.
They have run through the streets of cities such as New York, Miami, Washington, Medellín and Bogotá, amid others. They have left their prejudices behind, the indiscreet looks; they have taken the decision of demonstrating the world that there are not unreachable goals for a Colombian soldier.
The Colombian Armed Forces Handicapped Sportsmen League members (Lidifa) have lost some of their members, in some cases both; in other, they have lost their view or without arms, but anything has stopped them.
An initiative of some who never takes the soldiers of their mind, allowed to sum up in 2001 the idea of creating a decentralized entity that gathered the men that due to their mission with Colombia were injured in combat and are handicapped.
At the Army the Sanity Battalion were organized the first version of the recreational games at inter-company level, with which it was lit the light of hope for the uniformed that saw in the sports a recovery alternative and a social stability.
This first flash had its recompense soon. In 2002, thanks to the National Police Lieutenant ® Octavio Londoño’s work it was legally consolidated the League acquiring the support from the Colombian Armed forces Sports Federation, as well as the support from the Army and Military Forces commanders.
Starting from then the convocation to the soldiers that were in recovery at the Sanity Battalion and which felt that its sport spirit could give them another perspective to their new life, at the time that an interdisciplinary team of trainers and physiotherapists was structured which had the mission of guiding the capacities and the handicaps of each new member.
The project advanced and it was seen the necessity of enlarging the covering of the benefits that this new league offered; it was taken the decision of opening a recreational space for children and people with physical and mental handicaps for children or relatives of Public Force members, its objective is not of developing high competition sportsmen, but of welcoming those who need an alternative in their life.
After several months of work and dedication it was structured the first team that attended to the first international competition. Four soldiers, a lieutenant and a colonel, all with war wounds, traveled to the United States to run in the New York City Marathon in 2003, in the categories of conventional and athletic wheels chairs, walker with prothesis and handcycle.
The Military Forces and the Army commander’s support were vital, because they facilitated the sport’s wheelchairs and the money. The international company Achilles Track Club donated the inscriptions and the team’s lodging.
The success of this participation opened the doors to the consolidation of this dream.
With the continuous work it was achieved the conformation of wheel chairs basketball teams, swimming, shooting with pneumatic weapon, cycling, tandem cycling, chess, boccia, weightlifting and wheel chair tennis in which began to participate soldiers, officers and NCOs from the Army, Air force and the National Police.
Many more national and international competitions came as the Cali, Medellín and Miami marathons, as well as tournaments and Paralympics games in the different disciplines that have strengthened the value of the Lidifa members.
During the present year it has been constant the participations in sport events and the achievements reached. The main of them is that the athletes number has increased to 80 and that the Army command took the decision of structuring the League as one unit more from the Sanity Battalion, for which it was appointed Colonel ® Gabriel Cardona Galvis as commander and director, at the time that it was approved the economic resources for the purchase and maintenance of high competition implements.
Equally, with the support without spirit of lucre of foundations such as Tejido Humano, this year it was achieved the participation on the Marine Corps marathon in Washington D.C where the sportsmen were welcomed by the Colombian military community that advance diplomatic works in the United States Capital City.
The route to the goal doesn't stop
For the Colombian soldiers there is not anything impossible, those that make part of the Colombian Armed Forces Handicapped Sportsmen League will continue fighting to overcome new challenges, it is for that reason that for next year they already have their sports activities calendar and the goals that they have to reach.
Amid them the participations in the three more important marathons in the United States and four more in the country, as well as to achieve the classification to compete in the National Paralympics Games.
For Colonel Cardona the commander of this initiative, "there are many the dreams that have been achieved with the conformation of this League thanks to the help of the Almighty and of many people that have collaborated. The best of all, is that each victory of our sportsmen demonstrates to the country that their soldiers, although outside the combat field, they continue conquering the enemy".