Peru gets out of jail to win prisoners ‘World Cup’

first_imgAll the matches observed the national anthems of each participating “national team” and officiating at the matches were a trio of professional referees.The initial phases of the monthlong competition, which involved shackled inmates crisscrossing the country in buses amid high security, was played in dusty exercise areas. The prize for the finalists? Playing in the wide open spaces of the capital’s massive 60,000-capacity Lima Stadium.High securityA prison warden stand guard as inmates from Peruvian jails take part in the “First Inter-prison World Cup Russia 2018 tournament”, at the prison in Huaral, a rural community 110 kilometers north of Lima on May 15, 2018. Building on the World Cup fever unleashed by Peru’s qualification after 36 years of absence from the FIFA tournament, the National Petitentiary Institute (INPE) organized its own tournament, to boost rehabilitation of inmates in overcrowded prisons across the country. / AFP PHOTO / CRIS BOURONCLEFor security reasons, the stands at the stadium were almost empty. The few family members permitted per player were vastly outnumbered by 200 armed police wearing bullet-proof vests.But that did not stop them from living the moment as if they were fans, and players, in a real World Cup finals.ADVERTISEMENT Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations View comments Peru, represented by Lurigancho prison, beat “Russia” — a team from Chimbote prison in northern Peru — on penalty kicks after it ended all square at full time.The champions received a cup, gold medals and sports outfits as prizes.“I feel free for a moment, I know that I will go back very soon. This title, I dedicate it to my family, the sacrifice was worthwhile,” said victorious Lurigancho player Thomas Manuel Aguirre, serving a sentence for aggravated robbery.“The magic of football is that it has what establishes the rules of a community,” said National Penitentiary Institute head Carlos Vasquez told AFP.“In football, just like in a community, we face a team and we have to understand that’s it’s not an enemy but the other side, you have to play by the rules of the game.”– ‘Critical overcrowding’ –Like a real tournament, the tournament was grouped into four “host” prisons in cities in Ancon, Chimbote, Ica and Lima.The semi-finals were played in Lurigancho, which has the dubious reputation of being the most overcrowded of Peru’s 69 prisons. Built to houses 3,500 prisoners, it is home to 9,700 inmates, many of them categorized as “highly dangerous.”“Overcrowding is critical in Peruvian prisons, where there are 187,000 inmates. But you sense it less when there is order,” Vasquez said, after handing out the winners’ medals after the final.“The inmates may have violated the rules, they may have committed a crime, but football unites them along with the nation with the country’s participation in the World Cup.”For inmate Omar Jaramillo Mendez, in jail for aggravated robbery, it was a chance to get a feel for life outside prison walls again. Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina “For us it represents something important, that we, as human beings, reintegrate into society and become better people in the future,” he said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Inmates from Peruvian prisons of Lurigancho (playing for Peru) celebrate after winning the “First Inter-prison World Cup Russia 2018 tournament” final match against inmates from Chimbote prison (playing for Russia), at the Monumental stadium in Lima, on May 25, 2018. Building on the World Cup fever unleashed by Peru’s qualification after 36 years of absence from the FIFA tournament, the National Petitentiary Institute (INPE) organized its own tournament, to boost rehabilitation of inmates in overcrowded prisons across the country. / AFP PHOTO / CARLOS MANDUJANOIt sounds like a punchline: how does a team of prisoners win the World Cup? On penalties!That’s how Peru did it, getting out of jail to beat Russia in a tense final at the giant Lima Stadium last week.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READcenter_img Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Alaska rallies to beat Globalport, extends win streak to 5 It wasn’t the real thing — that begins in Russia later this month — but a deadly serious competition nevertheless that Peru’s prison authorities are calling the first World Cup of prisons.Anticipation of the Andean nation’s first appearance at a World Cup finals in 36 years has reached fever pitch, and for its chronically overcrowded prisons, the shadow prison tournament provided a rare, sweet breath of freedom.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“At last I can breathe a little air,” sighed Francis Valero, a tattooed 27-year-old locked up in Lima’s Lurigancho jail for drug trafficking. “We are hoping this will help us get reintegrated into society for good conduct.”Each of the 16 prisons included in the unique competition took the name, and the colors, of a country participating in the finals. 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