By Omar Ureña
The changes come in the spirit of making the world a better place. Whether a utopia or not, sports are the backbone of society. The National Polytechnic Institute is part of that structure and before the end of 2020, the best athlete, best team / coach and best sports promoter of the IPN were awarded the State Prize for Polytechnic Sports granted by the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE).
This ceremony pays homage to a year in which each piece fit into the maroon and white sports, precise plays were executed by the ‘luchadores’ behind the mask in 2019. A wrestler, an American football coach and his team and also a virtuous Doctor in law, and a former weightlifting competitor who once dreamed of being the iconic mexican wrestler ‘Mil Máscaras’.
The ‘lucha libre’ ring became a Greco-Roman arena where power and grunts circumscribed Daniel Vicente Gómez, being unanimously chosen by the jury as the best athlete at the Polytechnic. Dr. Eduardo Antonio Vanegas López had all the merits to be awarded as the best sports promoter of the Polytechnic, a role model within the institution who never stops caring for the athletes of the IPN. Thanks to their honor, the Burros Blancos and their head coach Agustín López were named the IPN’s best team and best coach.
Daniel Vicente Gómez has won important battles in the 59 kg category proudly wearing the maroon and white colors. His victories raised the flag of the National Polytechnic Institute at the peak of its discipline in Mexico and beyond its borders. Daniel succeeded in the tournaments using great technique and the determination to win and grasp victory as the athletic standards in ‘El Poli’.
Since its founding in 1936, the National Polytechnic Institute has been a fundamental institution in education and sports in Mexico created by President Lázaro Cárdenas the same year that the Burros Blancos debuted in Mexico College Football ‘Primera Fuerza’ League. The IPN Burros Blancos were national champions in 1945, 1948, 1950, 1953, 1954 and 1955. In 1958 the team was divided into two teams: Poli Blanco Cheyennes, led by Manuel ‘Gallo’ Rodero, and Poli Guinda Búhos commanded by Jacinto Licea. At present the Aguilas Blancas are the ascent of the Maroon Polytechnic and the Burros Blancos are the ascent of the White Polytechnic.
The bell sounded loud, it was the end of the first Civil War of the 2019 season between the Burros Blancos and the Aguilas Blancas and the Director of the National Polytechnic Institute, Mario Alberto Rodríguez Casas, stated:
“This year we are going to have a Polytechnic Champion.”
It was a fearless prediction on national television because he knew he had a great team made up of Dr. Mario Alberto Pérez Garduño, as director of Development and Sports, and coach Agustín Silva as head coach of the Burros Blancos. On October 12, 2019, the Zacatenco team defeated the Pumas CU 51-48 in a miraculous ending at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario.
To make this almost scientific synergy a reality, it was necessary to bring back the spirit of the legendary Arsacio Vanegas, a talented print maker and Mexican wrestler born in 1922 whose grandfather, Antonio Vanegas Arroyo was a printer of Cuban independence pamphlets and editor of José Guadalupe Posadas. ‘Kid’ Vanegas emerged as a social cry for the change in the planning of the Cuban Revolution in Mexico City and became coach of Fidel Castro, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and the rest of the ‘Movimiento 26 de Julio’ brave soldiers.
Thirty seven years later Eduardo Antonio Vanegas López was competing as a weightlifter. The grandson behind the mask was on his way to learn in the classrooms and in the gym everything he needed to change the direction of Sports at the IPN. He is an athlete with a doctorate in law, and a true mentor for student athletes. In 2018 the ‘Doc’ was named Director of Sports Development of the IPN, later in 2019 he was promoted as Prevention and Safety Coordinator. In recent years he has helped to strengthen all sports disciplines and that is why the 2020 State Sports Prize of the Polytechnic is a great motivation for Dr. Vanegas López:
“It means a great responsibility to continue giving my best, always supporting sport, whether as a civil servant, parent, spectator or athlete.”
On November 7, 2019, the Burros Blancos returned to face the Aguilas Blancas at the Ciudad de los Deportes Stadium. Alex ‘Magnifico’ Garcia was playing phenomenal. Los Burros Blancos, led by coach Agustín López Suárez fought in a dramatic game that was defined in overtime when ‘El Magnífico’ handed the ball to Aaron Garcia, who ran 7 yards and scored the winning touchdown. Los Burros Blancos defeated the Águilas Blancas 34-29 on the biggest stage of the 2019 season, and became the fourth college football team from Zacatenco to win the ONEFA National Championship.
After dealing with a difficult 2020 year, the State ceremony by CONADE was a healing rite for all the IPN athletes who could not participate in their tournaments, somehow there is a resurgence of the Olympic dream of representing Mexico in Tokyo and the desire to win the 2021 National Championship in an ONEFA league unified with public and private institutions.
These symbols of maroon and white pride resurface in times of battles for health. Congratulations Daniel, ‘Doc’ Vanegas, coach Agustin and the Burros Blancos. The adversities did not prevent honoring the heroes of the IPN sports on their way to success, their movements and the strength to be better gladiators on the court and on the gridiron continue to give glory to the National Polytechnic Institute.