Worthy of medal: with Águia support, Thiago Pereira Trophy encourages inclusion by swimming
More than 300 entries – from six to 17 years – in a single competition, including swimmers, amateurs and paratleteers. Need to say more? The success of the Thiago Pereira Trophy is only a sign of the enormous potential sport has for attracting future Olympic and Paralympic athletes, regardless of age or income.
The event named after the biggest winner in the history of Brazilian swimming was supported by Águia Sistemas and was held in São Paulo (SP), on September 14, at the Corinthians Aquatic Park. In addition to finding promises among hundreds of entrants, the goal of the competition was to encourage one of the fundamentals on which sport is champion: social inclusion.
With the floor, the medalist at the 2012 London Olympics and record-holder of medals at Pan American Games, across all sports and countries, with 23 podium finishes. “I believe that sport has a very little explored role in our country: that of teaching. The sport taught me about responsibility, courage, focus, determination, respect for others, persistence, among many other things. And the cool thing is that these are ‘lessons’ that we learn in practice, doing what we like best. And of course, when we increase the number and intensity of sports, the chance of increasing the number of medals increases a lot as well”, comments Thiago Pereira.
The former swimmer also says that one of the focus of the Trophy is to broaden the debate on inclusion of people with disabilities, but in a different way. “Whenever I heard about inclusion, I came across events for people with disabilities. I believe they are important, but for me to include is to put everyone together, bring them into our reality and experience their reality. We started our inclusion projects with Swim Camp, an event that the Águia has also supported. There we found that most children had never had contact with children with disabilities,” says Thiago Pereira.
The role of companies
As the economic situation is still difficult in practically the whole country, schools or municipalities do not always have sufficient structure and resources to offer sports such as swimming. Then come the private initiative and the sponsors. With the money, children who would not have enough money to participate in competitions are sponsored. “When Águia made the commitment to the Thiago Pereira Trophy, we had neither set date nor place of the event. Águia Sistemas was the first company that confirmed participation in the 2019 edition and gave us gas to move on. We knew that to continue the project we would need partners who also embraced the idea. Knowing that the dream was no longer just ours and those children was fundamental,” adds the former athlete.
The CEO of Águia Sistemas, Rogério Scheffer, points out that the company has always had a close relationship with various modalities, not only swimming. One of the teams supported was the youth volleyball team that even represented Brazil at the Croatian World Cup in 2006. “In addition to the natural social objective of private enterprise, which is to generate job opportunities, there is also professional development. On the other hand, private initiative is inserted in the social ecosystem and benefits from the effects of the institutions that form the citizens, which will be the workforce. Thus, promoting education, character formation, the collaborative and competitive spirit for sport can be seen as a retribution and a strategic activity for private initiative,” he says.