Nery Brenes at the Top
• Athletic Grant for athletes that have classified for the 2012 Olympics is a monthly salary of 2 million colones from January to June.
• Claudia Poll Sports Award sparks controversy.
• Brenes is getting ready for a high-class practice in May.
The national athlete Nery Brenes marked history in world athletics after winning the gold medal in the 400-meter dash indoors during the World Indoors Championship held in March in Istanbul, Turkey.
Upon making a season record with 45 seconds and 11 hundredths, Brenes gave the country a satisfaction that no other athlete had ever given; he was not only the first Costa Rican to achieve this award but he was the first on the list of winners of a World Championship of Athletics.
At his arrival to the country, a caravan of followers and the President of the Republic Laura Chinchilla welcomed Nery at Juan Santamaria International Airport.
The President awarded him with an athletic grant that amounts ¢12 million for his preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Sports Award Sparks Controversy
After the hubbub at Nery Brenes’ Olympic conquest, the controversy sparked over Claudia Poll Sports Award after a decree was signed and published in the Official Gazette on March 15. The President of the Republic Laura Chinchilla signed such decree, herself.
Article 6 states that "the Claudia Poll national sports award is given every two years as a grant that the State offers to Costa Rican athletes." However, the regulations, in force since 1977, state in Article 7 that “the nominations for the creditors of such award will be received from January 1 to December 31 of that year."
These arguments, as reported by Telenoticias, were the base for an appeal that was recently submitted.
The world-boxing champion in the 154 pounds category, Hanna Gabriels, insists that she will take these changes to the very end.
With the change in the decree, it is established that the 156 million grant could be shared with other athletes, at the discretion of a jury.
The government stepped in by saying that they do not want to harm anyone and that they actually reactivated this grant. The Executive Branch issued a directive for the jury to be integrated as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Nery Brenes has publicly acknowledged he is not interested in fighting for the prize, because he has not competed for money and that this will not make him lose concentration of his goal in 2012.
Nery Brenes and boxer Hanna Gabriels, also a World Champion, are candidates for this prize.
On May 5, Nery Brenes could face the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, in Jamaica at an event where he is running the 200-meter dash. This is not Nery’s strength, but he sees it as a first-class training towards London 2012 Olympic Games, where he is a favorite.