After Rio 2016, Welcome to Paris!

Friday, 24 november 2023

It was a joyful reunion for Alan Luis Duarte and three of his athletes from the Abraço Campeão association who were able to come to Paris thanks to support from Groupe BPCE. Abraço Campeão is an educational and social sports non-profit created by Alan Luis Duarte, a boxing coach in the Complexo do Alemão, a huge favela north of Rio de Janeiro.

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Alan Duarte is a former national and international heavyweight boxing champion in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Aware that sport saved his life, he decided to found this project to make a useful contribution to his community in an environment plagued by crime and violence. Located in the heart of one of the Brazilian capital’s two largest favelas, the Abraço Campeão association welcome more than 350 young people every day practising several activities and enables some sixty young people to train to become the great boxing champions of the future. It also provides them with courses in citizenship and personal development to help them realize their dreams by overcoming their difficulties through sport.  

Groupe BPCE’s support that began in 2016 in Rio has enabled the project to grow and give enduring life to the legacy of this event, as demonstrated by the videos shot between 2016 and 2019 that tell the story of the Abraço Campeão association and trace its development over the years.  

Visual recap  

Video #1: The genesis of the project 

Abraço Campeão, a place for boxers to train, set up in an improvised ring on a hillside behind the buildings of a neighborhood association. “It’s boxing that enables people to develop and realize their potential, and transform their lives.” Alan Luis Duarte, founder of the Abraço Campeão social boxing project. 

Video #2: The importance of the social dimensions 

Training as a boxer in the favela, on a soccer pitch with salvaged equipment, was a real sporting and human challenge. Abraço Campeão’s courses in citizenship and personal development are a great help. “We need to raise young people’s awareness in our sports and education courses to prevent them from falling into drug trafficking and becoming drug users themselves.” Alan Luis Duarte, founder of the Abraço Campeão social boxing project. 

Video #3: The challenge of Round 1 

Meeting and comparing themselves with high-level athletes and interaction with other training centers are essential to improving the training and professionalization of athletes. “Perfecting their specialties and enabling them to give their very best when they fight, to own their victories, that’s my role.” Alan Luis Duarte, founder of the Abraço Campeão social boxing project. 

Video #4Tearing down the wall 

Groupe BPCE’s support contributed to the development of the Abraço Campeão sports center redevelopment project. This sports and social project aims to welcome without judgment young people who want to become professional boxers, and to train them to the highest level, hence its name Abraço (embrace) Campeão (champion). “Every piece of the wall that came down was like a dream coming a little more true.” Cosme Henrique, an Abraço Campeão boxer taking part in the major project. 

Video #5: A visit to the favela 

Interview with Jérôme Déchamp, head of the lightweight sector of the French national rowing team, Romain Barnier, coach of the French swimming team, and a group of bronze medal-winning rowing athletes. “The people and the spirit at the heart of this project represent the very essence of sport; it’s the essence of every success.” Romain Barnier, French swimming team coach (2016)  

Video #62018, the year of challenges 

After optimizing its training conditions, the center was able to expand its activities and welcome children from the age of 6. Spreading the word about Abraço Campeão’s fine history and meeting other players involved in social-sports projects are essential in order to continue making progress. “It’s very important that we can show the results of our work all over the world, so that this methodology can be widely used and we can build a better world.” Alan Luis Duarte, founder of the Abraço Campeão social boxing project. 

Video #7Cultivating hope 

Abraço Campeão hasn’t finished inspiring others. In 2018, more than 250 young people signed up, and enrolments continue to grow, drawing support from everyone: young people, professionals and favela residents alike. “I feel that our project is like an oasis in the desert. I’m proud of our work because I know that this growth like a chain reaction is essential for our young people and makes a difference for the inhabitants of this favela in Rio de Janeiro.” Alan Luis Duarte, founder of the Abraço Campeão social boxing project.