The Dominican high performance athletes who won medals at the last Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan, have achieved the merit of ambassadors of the country, and as such should be rewarded.
With them, the Dominican Republic has seen its world ranking in sport rise. Overcoming adverse and ignominious conditions of material existence, our athletes have competed with peers from countries that are immensely developed in economic and sporting terms, such as the United States, China, Japan, Canada and others, and in several cases they have beaten them.
This required a lot of sporting shame, a lot of patriotic ideals, a lot of hunger to succeed and a lot of rapport between athletes and coaches. And, of course, the financial support of the State and private sector entities.
Our medal-winning athletes are today true ambassadors of the country wherever they go. Athletes such as Marilaidy Paulino, the first Dominican woman to win two medals in the same Olympic Games, Zacarías Bonnat, with a silver medal, Crismery Santana, with a bronze medal, and our baseball team with a bronze medal, have raised the national flag very high. As have our volleyball stars “Queens of the Caribbean”, even without winning medals.
These ambassadors, as are many of the Dominican stars of the Major Leagues, are some of the fundamental elements of our “country-brand”.
To these entities must be added attractive aspects of our nation, such as our rich cuisine, our splendid beaches and mountains, the artistic in its various expressions, our music and dance (the joyful merengue and the inimitably beautiful and sensual dance of the bachata), the joviality of Dominican men and women, our geographical position in “the very path of the sun”, and the fact that the island is “Hispaniola”, the place in the Americas where it all began.
Sport and Dominican culture must inevitably be other essential pillars of our “country-brand”, both requiring the greatest support from the State and the greatest diversity of private entities, in the most diverse fields.
With regard to culture, the corresponding ministry must understand its duty to support group and regional initiatives, in all their manifestations; to admit independent movements, without trying to impose cultural trends; and at the same time to stimulate and support individual and collective capacities, even financing spontaneous initiatives.
There should be no doubt; within our current reality, sport and culture must be constituted and exhibited as two of the fundamental columns of national expression, at the same time as the means to deliver a forceful “right blow” to the chin of juvenile delinquency in the country.