Ygor goes from Favela Beginnings to Badminton Trailblazing | 5 Lives


Everyone’s path is difficult,
it’s never easy, but I’m the proof
that working hard pays off. Unfortunately, I’ve lost
friends to drugs and crime, but we can trace
a different path… (YGOR COELHO, BADMINTON PLAYER) ..we don’t need
to follow that one. Badminton has changed my life.
Now it’s my profession, now I speak English
because of badminton, I’ve also travelled
several places. I live here,
at the Chacrinha Community. I live at that blue place,
with the balcony. And as unlikely
as it may sound, I started playing
in my backyard, over there. At that big blue building,
the Miratus. My feet would bleed.
We didn’t have badminton shoes, and even if I had it,
or something like it, the floor would destroy it
because there wasn’t a court. To get out of this situation,
playing barefoot, and be at the Olympics,
you have to overcome it. At the beginning,
people didn’t understand it. They laughed when my father wanted to build
a badminton court. Badminton is tennis
played with a shuttlecock, and this is a question
everybody makes – “Bad what?” Badminton. When they saw that people
were getting results, the school became
number one in Brazil and one of the best
in the Americas, then they started
to support us. I was 12 years old
when I could spend my vacations with my mom
for the first time. She decided not to work
as a maid any more, she started working at the landfill
in Jardim Gramacho. There, during my vacations,
I had to climb lorries, pick cardboard and everything,
it was fun – when you’re a kid
you’ve no idea – to fight vultures for food, take potato boxes
that come from the supermarket, cut the rotten part off
to eat the good part. I ate a lot
of French fries. This period of my life
made me more aware. At the Pedro II school
I was introduced to this sport practised with a shuttlecock
and a racquet and it changed my life. We will switch! We will switch! Now we’ll progress to level… – Two.
– Two! This is way too easy! I wanted to help
a group of youngsters. When I met my wife,
she lived in this community. And then I decided,
“It has to be now.” Go down slowly
until I whistle. And we got good results. We have over 20
Pan-American titles, over 30 South American titles,
three European titles. Now we have male and female
competitors who qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games. But…I’m not satisfied. I think we always
strive for more. The good thing
about Miratus is that it thinks
beyond badminton. There are physical education
teachers, there is a girl
studying accounting. One girl who has left, from the first generation
that has a law degree. It’s a great pride. We have to somehow compete
against drug trafficking. We have to arrive first
to capacitate the kids. Our Brazilian kids. So my dream is that the heroes
we unveiled with the sport may become a reference to the youth
in the communities. I’ve won around 80 medals. I decided to invest
in my career because I know years from now
I won’t regret it. I’ll have a great future.
I’m already living it. I want to follow Ygor’s example
from the beginning. He qualified
for the Olympics without leaning
on Brazil’s spots. For being a host,
Brazil has two spots. And his spot
was defended in court. If the Olympics
were held in Japan he would be there. He gave many things up. He didn’t play,
he didn’t fly kites. He didn’t fool around. He worked very hard. I’ll carry the torch
in Duque de Caxias. My father and I
will carry it. I’m thrilled
to even think about it. It’s wonderful. I want it!
I can do it! I will do it! Miratus, Miratus! Miratus, Miratus! Miratus, Miratus! I’m very excited
about the Olympics. It will only sink in
when I’m there, that I’m the first Brazilian
in badminton history to qualify for the Olympics,
only then it’ll sink in. I know that my ticket
is already there, safe. (MEN’S SINGLES STANDINGS –
GROUP K) All my work, all the effort
of these four years… My father and I struggled. He always supported me,
didn’t let me give up – I’m here thanks to him. So I want to thank him.

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