The President Advitam of the Olympic Committee, Dr. José Joaquín Puello, recommended, warned and finally requested that Dominican athletes should be excluded from paying the Olympic Hostel.
“It is a responsibility of us to give the highest treatment to youth, the one who puts us so high in sport. That is not the purpose of an Olympic shelter, on the contrary, the national athlete does not pay anything, the Dominican athlete must enter whether or not he has money because that is his patrimony, “said José Joaquín Puello, former president of the COD.
Puello’s reaction stems from the protest that several sports federations have made about the payment of 40 dollars a day (Two thousand two hundred and forty Dominican pesos) for each athlete that they introduce in the place.
He assured that a way out of the current jam between the COD and MIDEREC will be sought for the good of the sport and because the shelter must continue to function. The Ministry of Sports abandoned the joint administration of the concentration center in Ensanche la Fe over the weekend.
“I think that now what we have to do is sit down and see if this shelter can be something more than a receptacle for athletes. We can do three things: 1) Form a hostel health club for people who exercise privately; 2) Accept sponsors who understand and love sports and, 3) Create a foundation that seeks resources for the shelter, and thus the government or the ministry is not charged, ”said Puello.
The idea of a hostel
Puello was the author of the idea to build an Olympic hostel in the country after the experience of visiting the Salinas lodge, a municipality in the south of Puerto Rico.
“We put the idea in 1996, but Cristóbal Marte, who was the Sports Secretary, put a lot of character into it and insisted that the president (Joaquín) Balaguer understood it; time was running out and the president gave me a letter giving us what was the Preventive prison, in the La Fe expansion; and a check for 8 million pesos to clean all that and make the new plans “, remembers Puello.
Work of three governments
In order to build and open what is now the Olympic Shelter, the situation had to be handled with three governments: with Dr. Balaguer; Hipólito Mejía and Leonel Fernández. “During the Hipólito government we managed to get the shelter included in the general budget of the Santo Domingo 2003 Pan American Games, thanks to the secretary César Cedeño and the director of Public Works, Miguel Vargas Maldonado,” said Puello.
He said that progress was made in many things, but everything fell apart with the economic problem that the country suffered with the Baninter case and it could not be finished by then, “Then in Leonel’s first term it was inaugurated,” he added.
The Salinas shelter, the one in Mexico City, Havana, and others that were visited by Puello in Europe and Japan, helped create the convenient model. He believes that the internal management of the activities of the hostel should have a tripartite management between the Ministry of Sports, the Olympic Committee and a representative of the federations.
Dr. José Joaquín Puello was also one of the promoters of the celebration in the country in 2003 of the Pan American Games; After achieving that goal, he retired from the sports leadership, to make way for his great dream of being a neurosurgeon: on December 23, 2020, Luis Eduardo Aybar was appointed president of the Ciudad Sanitaria, a project of which he is also the main driver.
LEARN MORE Sacrifices and waiting for Vision de Marte village.
Puello credits Cristóbal Marte for his support and courage to the idea of building a sports hostel in the initial stage, from his position as Secretary of Sports in 1996.
From jail to life.
When Marte and Puello visited the Preventiva grounds, they orchestrated a phrase: “The Dominican State is going to turn a prison unworthy of the human being, into a field of freedom and progress for young people.”
After his departure from the COD, it was Luisín Mejía who fanned the torch and continued the fight to finish the shelter.