13 years already! A long and beautiful story, full of realized dreams and changed destinies. And I’m sure it’s not over!
My name is Gwenaëlle Maitre, I am 47 years old and this great adventure started one day in February 2007 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) when I met for the first time, Sebastião Dias de Oliveira, Founder of the NGO Miratus, a voluntary project teaching Badminton to the children of Chacrinha, a favela of the city of Rio.
A few weeks before, a media coverage on Brazilian television on the project and that is how I decided to go find out there. At the time I had 11 years of business, I was financial director of Decathlon Brazil and I lived for 8 years in Sao Paulo, Brazilian megalopolis located 500 km from Rio (city where we had not yet ‘activities).
The result was, as I used to say, a gigantic snowball (or rather of energy)! In just over 18 months, the entire Brazilian team has heard of the Miratus project, more than 50 Decathlon teammates have visited the association, Artengo has provided large quantities of equipment and the Decathlon Foundation has validated its first support, to train young educators and change the surface of the gymnasium so that it is suitable for the practice of sport. And on October 18, 2008, Miratus inaugurated its new grounds, at a party organized by Foundation volunteers.
Almost 12 years later, it could be a great story from the past especially when you know how difficult it is for these projects to survive over the years. Well, it is not “from the past”. The challenges certainly continue (currently Miratus is fighting to find new support for its year 2020) but the great story between Miratus and Decathlon also continues and the list of conquests of the association continues to grow! To only cite a few,
Miratus has become, over the years, the largest nursery for badminton champions in Brazil. In 12 years, more than 75 medals at the Pan American Championships (45% of the medals of Brazil and 65% of the gold medals of this one!)
Ygor and Lohaynny, 2 of the young people of Miratus, who were 12 years old at the time of the inauguration of the sports complex in 2008, were the first 2 Brazilians in history to participate in the Olympic Games in Badminton in Rio in 2016. They won their place thanks to their talent.
Ygor then flew away. At 23 years old today, he speaks fluent English, is among the 50 best players in the world and lives in Denmark, one of the most recognized countries in Badminton where he plays in one of the best teams in the country. He is a great ambassador for Miratus and Decathlon and a loyal and proud technical partner of Perfly for 12 years.
Jonathan, 20, is on the trail of Ygor. He has just spent 3 months in Denmark with him and is now determined to become one of the best Badminton players on the planet.
Renan and Pedro work in the Decathlon store in Barra, which has already seen a dozen young people pass by in its last years and has given them all great values for life.
And like Jonathan, all the generations who share these examples, fill themselves with hope when they see their conquests and start to think that ultimately maybe they too can succeed in achieving their dreams. And this is how the snowball continues to grow!
The Decathlon Foundation can be very proud of the work accomplished by all of its volunteers!
And like I said at the start, I’m sure it’s not over! See you in 5 years!
Here a testimony from Ygor Coelho, the Badminton Pan Am games champion 2019 from Miratus