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The School of Life: More prisons in Uruguay play rugby

Leonardo Aguirre started playing rugby so he could get a break from his cell. I don’t know the rules and the training is hard. Fifteen months later, he leads the Uruguayan prison team and is serving time for robbery. Like him, some 500 deprived of their liberty are currently playing rugby in Uruguayan detention centers as part of a project focusing on sport as a means. “I’ve got three years left here. I’m not giving up football, and if I can play outside, I will.” Los Angeles Titans 1st team captain Aguirre Punta de Rieles , about 15 kilometers from downtown Montevideo, representing a team “is the best thing that can happen to you” for the tiny 25-year-old. “You feel important, and that makes you want to get up and try to keep standing.” This week, Uruguay’s sixth inter-prison rugby match is between the Los Angeles Titans and Maldonado Las Rozas. Prison Phoenix, Los Titans vs. Caimanes, Phoenix from Maldonado Las Rozas Prison Santiago Vazquez (ex-Coca) Prison Complex. All prisoners were handcuffed and held in armed custody, but they were free to move about in court. There’s no shortage of drumming or “third quarters,” the dinner with rivals after a football game. “They foul, but just to play. When someone speaks, they listen,” said Roberto Barreiro, the Uruguayan Rugby Union (URU) judge who arbitrated the appointment. The “classic” between Los Titanes and Fénix ended in a draw. “We’re still undefeated,” jokes Titans coach Santiago Suarez. – “Grassing” – Rugby exists as a vehicle for the reintegration of inmates on national teams such as Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Spain and more. Captain Carlos Arboleya began teaching rugby at the former Comcar in 2009. In 2016, under an agreement with the URU, the program began to expand, and since 2021 it now covers nearly a dozen prisons across the country, including women’s prisons. “The requirement is that they train twice a week and perform well,” explained professional rugby player Matías Benítez, one of the project coordinators. “For Benitez, who is preparing for the 2023 World Cup in France, rugby tells you that you can fall down and ‘graze’ but you always have to get back up.” Former Lostros player Alejandro Alejandro Nieto, who coached the program for seven years, said it was “a lot” difficult for prisoners to follow the rules and regulations. But he stressed that everyone “values ​​those who work with them from the outside “. It’s not a hostile environment at all.” Titans forward Brian Gonzalez was thrilled to meet Tros and former Tros. “Seeing them already gets you excited because tomorrow you go out and you can do the same thing they did,” he said. “El Mota” is 24 years old, three years and two months away from being free. When asked why he was in prison, he replied “human trafficking and weapons”. He pledged himself to be “focused every day on being able;- “Calesita” – Gustavo Zerbino, survivor of the famous 1972 plane crash of Uruguayan rugby player in the Los Andes, for an inter-prison meeting Provided the initial impetus and addressed them at the end of the session. “Everyone came away today as a winner because they had fun with respect and discipline,” he told the prisoners gathered in a large circle. For Zerbino, rugby “is a school of life.” The 70-year-old businessman, who has been in prison for 15 years promoting the game.” It’s not a party platform. This is the responsibility of the whole society. Now we’re building workforce reintegration networks because (when they leave) they’re free, but they’re still in jail because they don’t have the opportunity. Alejandra Otanha, deputy technical director of Unit One, is betting on rugby to avoid recidivism. “Merry-go-round things happen to us and they always come back. The contribution of rugby is very important to end the cycle”, he points out. Uruguay has 3.5 million inhabitants and a high prison population ratio: 4 in every 1,000 people are in prison. Transfers to prisoners after rugby games write: ” Growth is my dream, sport is my path”. ad/gfe

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