The 100m world vice-champion fled Mali because of her skin color

Unwanted in Mali, Adiaratou Iglesias fled his country and took Spanish nationality after his adoption.

The 100m world vice-champion fled Mali because of her skin color

Unwanted in Mali, Adiaratou Iglesias fled his country and took Spanish nationality after his adoption.

A life of suffering before glory. Born in Bamako, Mali, visually impaired athlete Adiaratou Iglesias Forneiro, world runner-up in the 100m disabled sport, has a past like few athletes before her have experienced. Suffering from albinism, a hereditary genetic anomaly which, in addition to impairing eyesight, also modifies skin pigmentation, she experienced years of persecution in Africa.

In Mali, as in several other countries on the continent, albinism is indeed very frowned upon. Those affected are considered bad luck and some are hunted down to be mutilated or killed, the limbs of an albino being conversely considered lucky by custom. The skin, hair or organs of albino people, sometimes associated with potions from another age, also sell very expensively on the black market.

Reduced to shutting herself up in her Muslim family, with her deaf and mute mother and her father's two other wives, Adiaratou Iglesias Forneiro had to leave her region of origin at the age of 11 due to her illness . In danger, she will be sent to the south of Europe, to Spain, to Logrono, to one of her father's half-brothers.

In permanent insecurity since her childhood, she will not be spared by her host either, who tried to drown his own wife. This incident allowed her to join a center for minors and to be adopted, a few years later, by a Spanish woman, Linda Iglesias Forneiro. The end of hell and the beginning of a rebirth.

With Spanish nationality, Adiaratou Iglesias found refuge and was able to plan a real life project. The Galician will put her heart and soul into athletics, despite her eyesight reduced to around 20% according to estimates. Successes quickly followed. World vice-champion in the 100m sprint category T13 for the visually impaired, she also distinguished herself at the Tokyo Games by winning gold in the 100m. In 2019, she was vice-champion in the 100 and 200 meters. Before confirming in Paris in 2024?

Racism is unfortunately common in all sports and still very present in our time. Whether it is persecution based on a physical abnormality, a lifestyle choice or especially skin color, this has become a real scourge. On the weekend of January 20, 2024, French footballer Mike Maignan was the victim of monkey cries in Italy during the match between Udinese and AC Milan. Although he decided to leave the field at first, the match finally resumed a few minutes later. If actions are envisaged, nothing has really been put in place to sanction or carry out an electroshock in the world of sport.

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