Jairo Chaves talks to us about the FUN foundation to help children in Ciudad Bolívar
During ‘Bicigo’ bike fair we met up with Jairo Chaves, Esteban Chaves’s father. He is the man in charge of his son’s FUN foundation which promotes local cycling talents. Aside from cycling development, the foundation also does medical work with children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford treatment.
“The legacy of his son” as he calls it is based around a team of junior cyclists who participate in local races. “There are two age groups of 15-16 and 17-18, each 10 men strong”. The idea is to make those prodigies of two wheels visible for head hunters from Europe, already well prepared physically and mentally. It’s not just about cycling, either, they also teach English so that young cyclists can easily adapt to different cultures.
Don Jairo stresses the importance of well-balanced training as modern cycling requires from these athletes to ride well in all types of terrain. He explains that they generally look for the type of cyclist that has the potential to do well in European races. However, “Obviously, if you can’t climb here in Colombia, you’re fried”
The foundation also works closely with Clinica Cardio Infantil and organises the ‘Gran Fondo de Chaves’, a recreational, non-competitive cycling event to raise some capital to finance surgeries for disabled children. Last year the foundation helped 26 of them to receive operations.”it’s completely unrelated to cycling, but also very important,” he says.
Talking about the future, Jairo revealed some plans: “Our dream is to build a sub-23 team as not all children are mature enough to show the talent in their teenage years.” He’s passionate about trying to help kids that develop on a slightly different timeline to others.
When asked about names to remember in the future, Jairo pointed to Einer Rubio, subcampeon of the Giro d’Italia sub-23, and with visible excitement he mentioned a very young cyclist, Pantoja. Only time will tell!