With already 4 international gold medals at the age of 10 years old, Peru’s youngest chess champion Fiorella Contrareras still lacks financial support. How is this possible?
Fiorella Contrareras became Peru’s youngest world chess champion at age 7 in the under-8 category. She just did it again, bringing home the gold from this year’s Panamerican championship in Costa Rica. Barely 10 years old, Fiorella has won a total of 4 gold medals in international competitions.
In an interview with Peru 21, Fiorella said that she began playing chess at 4 and a half years old in a 3-month class during vacations, something akin to a summer school course. Her teacher had recommended her to take the course because “she saw those qualities” in her. She soon began to study the game seriously.
Fiorella has also come to realize that Peru’s government lacks incentives to help her because low priority is given to the sport of chess, as well as because of her age group. The World Chess Federation offers little in the way of support either.
“We are showing that there is talent in Peru, chess has a future. Unfortunately, there is no support from the Federation. The only help I have received is from my school Saco Oliveros, my professor Iván Mitma, and my parents. I know that soccer and volleyball have more attention, but I don’t understand what more I must do to receive support,” Fiorella told Peru 21.
The Peruvian Sports Institute only sponsors athletes 12 years of age or more, and there are proposals in the works to only sponsor those 15 and up. Along with the prioritization of other sports in favor of chess, the situation doesn’t appear to be improving for Fiorella. However, she’s not about to give up anytime soon.
Chess is Fiorella Contrareras’ passion. Despite lacking sponsorship from her home country, she is proud to represent Peru and refuses to give up on her dream and continues to dedicate 5 hours per day to the chess board.