From a poor family to the World Cup: How underwater hockey had an impact on Daniel’s life.
Daniel Londoño has a dream: He wants to go to the World Championship in England in August 2019. When he started playing underwater hockey, Daniel was fat and barely spoke. Today his team respects him for his experience. He wants to learn English and study in Australia. Sport has changed the 18-year-old Colombian teenager completely.
Daniel grew up in one of Medellín's poorer districts where violence used to be widespread. When his father was injured in a car accident, Daniel had to postpone his studies to earn a living. About every three years, his brother tries to kill him. He is a war veteran and has schizophrenic episodes. The other brother recently got out of jail. Despite the past, Daniel loves his brothers and parents. The whole family has come together to fulfil his dream. Daniel was the first of his family to ever travel abroad when he went to Argentina with the national team. He says, "I am not poor. If you say to yourself that you are poor, you become poor." And when he dives into the water, all his worries stay behind on land.
Underwater hockey is a marginal sport in Colombia, like everywhere else. But the Colombians are extremely successful internationally, and Medellín has the highest number of clubs in the South American country.
The city mayor is building free sports facilities with swimming pools and paying coaches in poorer districts all over Medellín. The water sports club for which Daniel plays is the newest. It was founded by a few enthusiastic sports students who wanted to change the lives of children and young people.
However, there is hardly any financial support for participation in international competitions. Travel expenses, accommodation, sportswear, and all costs for the national coaches have to be paid by the players themselves. Daniel worked in a carpenter's workshop, sold sweets and tickets, and his parents took on debt to make his dream come true. That's how it was when Daniel traveled with the national team to the World Cup in Australia in 2017. If someone were to take off with the team money that he earned over months, things would be difficult.
A collaboration project with Katharina Wojczenko.