In an effort to help in engaging children occupied in positive activities and keeping them drug free, the World Boxing Organization (WBO), chaired by Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel, Esq., held the 18th edition of the ‘WBO Annual Children’s Athletics Invitational’ which took place at the Cupey Alto Sports Complex (Cupey Track) located in the capital of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The WBO sponsored the event as part of their ‘WBO Kids Drug Free’ program, which is focused on helping to keep the world’s youth healthy and drug free.
The track and field invitational tournament was dedicated to current WBO Mini-Flyweight World Champion, Wilfredo ‘Bimbito’ Méndez, of Trujillo Alto. In and out of the ring, Méndez has been an example of discipline, dedication and sacrifice to reach his goal and win a world championship title.
“Thanks to the WBO for hosting this great activity that brings together lots of children from all over Puerto Rico so they can compete in positive, healthy activities. Thanks to the parents for bringing them to this event. You are also champions, but in life. I will always support events like this, that help kids stay out of trouble” Méndez said.
The tournament was very we’ll attended and involved over 300 boy and girl participants between the ages of 6 and 13, representing 20 athletic clubs around Puerto Rico.
The participants were awarded medals to the first three places per event and cash to the most prominent competitors in each category. Trophies were also awarded to the first three teams in scoring and two bikes were raffled per category.
The event was attended by the WBO Latino Junior Welterweight champion Jean ‘Lobo’ Torres, WBO NABO Interim Junior Welterweight Champion Danielito Zorrilla, former 130-pound world champion Alberto Machado, WBO Latino Junior Flyweight Champion René Santiago, WBO Latino Featherweight Champion Bryan Chevalier, prospects Nicklaus Flaz, Edwin Valentin and Angel ‘Bebito’ Aponte as well as amateur boxer Moisés Zorrilla.
Also present were referee José Hiram Rivera (event coordinator), judge Luis Ruiz, managers Raúl Pastrana and José ‘Pepe’ Ortíz, matchmaker Yoel González and trainer David Oyola. WBO Treasurer Adolfo Flores and legal advisor Gustavo Olivieri Miranda, Esq. also were present in the tournament.
WBO Kids Drug Free is an international program aimed at children and young people in order to carry a message of drug prevention and motivate them to continue studying, using sports as a tool to stay on the right path, as well that support causes directed to those in need in order to ensure a better quality of life.
Photos by Víctor Planas