Luis Grijalva, the Guatemalan dreamer who can’t leave the US and deals a major blow at the World Cup

Guatemalan Louis GrijalvaSunday’s finalist in the 5,000m race from Eugene World Cup 2022Raised in the United States under the protection of the program Dhaka (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), launched by Barack Obama to prevent the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people who arrived undocumented as children. With long hair, a friendly smile and an elegant step, Grijalva is one of those guys who are known as dreamers (The Dreamers) and barely able to compete outside the US due to program limitations, was attacked unsuccessfully during the Donald Trump era.

“I dream of traveling around the world”Grijalva, 23, admitted in an interview in Stockholm last June. That stay to compete in Sweden was the athlete’s second outside North America.

“I was born in Guatemala, my parents brought me as an illegal immigrant when I was one year old. I grew up in Fairfield, California. It is a beautiful place, green and high, but the city is quite ghetto. It is not easy to become an athlete coming from there. My father washes cars and works Also in a factory.It’s a classic immigrant story.He is 60 years old and works like a madman.I started when I was about 13 and entered high school.I did it on the occasional team but I wasn’t very good at it and it took a while to join the sport. I started taking it seriously when I was 16. In 2017, I joined Northern Arizona University, where I am still located,” he introduced himself.

Luis Grijalva at the helm of the peloton. Photo: EFE / Kai Forsterling

Grijalva finished third in the semi-finals on 13, 14 and 04, his best time of the season.. He remained on top of the group at various points in the race but ended up dropping out of pole positions for Kenya’s Jacob Krupp (13d13s) and Norway’s Jacob Ingbrigtsen (13d13s92). “It was a really good feeling. It was the ultimate goal, not who came first. If you make it to the final, you are automatically in the top 15 in the world. This is for Guatemala and Central America,” he said after achieving the pass to the race for the world title.

Eugene 2022 is an oasis amid the difficulties he is going through to advance in his life and in his career. “DACA allows me to live in the US, get a driver’s license and work. But I can’t apply for citizenship, I can’t get a green card. It’s very difficult to leave the country. You have to apply for the permit about six months in advance. If you leave the country Without permission, I can’t go back for 10 years. I went to the Tokyo Olympics and it was the first time I left the US. I dream of traveling the world but the administrative procedures are always too heavy. You have to hire a lawyer who will cost you about $4,000. But all that effort paid off. : “For Tokyo, I got my permit just two days before I traveled. It was a great achievement, a dream come true. In a way I was able to represent the dreamers, the people who depend on DACA, over 600,000 people.”

Grijalva dedicated the victory to the Guatemalans.  Photo: EFE

Grijalva dedicated the victory to the Guatemalans. Photo: EFE

His two older brothers ended up in court. They were also on DACA. “They were brought back to Guatemala when I was 13. I never saw them again. My mom came back in 2020. I’m not an activist, just an inspiration. This is so much bigger than athletics. We, the dreamers, are always at our limits,” concluded Grijalva, a dreamer. Double.

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