Six thousand million pesos (close to $2 million USD) were granted to thirty-nine sports leagues of the district, to be invested in preparatory events in local and national competitions. The resources and equipment were given to the 35 associations of various disciplines that make up the Association of Atlantic Sports Leagues, ALDA in Spanish, and the independent tennis, roller skating, baseball, and football leagues.
This year the city of Barranquilla increased the budget invested in previous years by 15 times, from around 400 million pesos per year in 2015 and 2016 to 6000 million pesos. This new plan sought not only to increase the amount that each sport receives but also to increase the number of disciplines that benefit from the state contribution, including, for the first time in Barranquilla, resources for Paralympic disciplines.
A total of 7 new sports were included in this 2017 budget. These consist of aquatic activities such as surfing and the inclusion of disciplines for people with disabilities through its five primary branches.
Also, among the more traditional practices of the region, the city decided to give boxing more emphasis. In addition to the economic contribution, the Sport to the Park (Deporte al Parque) program was launched. This new initiative seeks to include boxing as one of its main focuses. The idea is to bring boxing competitions to all the parks in Barranquilla, and build places for young people to practice in a safe and controlled space.
According to Mayor Char, programs like this seek to keep children away from risks such as gangs and delinquency, giving them sport as a model of development. “This investment, never seen before in the city or sports, will allow the practice of different disciplines to be massified, so that young people occupy their free time in a productive way and for the benefit of society. The strengthening of high performance, and the appearance of new talents like Rentería, Teo, Bacca,” Char said.
This significant investment seeks to generate a boom in the sports practice of young people. Their hope is that new generations of Barranquilleros will expand the athletics platform that gives proper use to the more than 13 new scenarios that are being built for the Central American and Caribbean Games to be held in the city 2018.