Paralympic Gold Medalist Sprinter Lost Her Disability Pension Because Of a Sponsorship

Lead Photo: Photo is licensed under the CC BY 2.0 license.
Photo is licensed under the CC BY 2.0 license.
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Argentine sprinter Yanina Martinez first popped up in the news cycle after winning the 100m gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games. The win snapped a 20-year gold medal drought for Argentina, turning Martinez into a national hero. Unfortunately, she is on the opposite end of the news this week, after her disability pension was cut because she acquired a sponsor to support her athletic career.

The 23-year-old runner, who has cerebral palsy, first discovered her disability checks had stopped in February because of an AFIP problem, according to her mother, Claudia Chavez. “When we went to the cashier, we saw that the money was not deposited, and then the next day we went to the bank and were told that there were no problems with them.”

Martinez’s mother stated that, if they had known the sponsorship would cause these problems, they would not have accepted it, as the money is not worth the loss of the pension. “One of the clauses of the contract was that it had to be invoiced. We did not think that they would make this disaster. We were told that it was for people who do not have any pension income, but she just got a sponsor – Banco Provincia – which was always very difficult for us. She got it for her sports achievements.” Chavez went on to say, with great pain in her voice, that “nobody gave her anything, she works hard to be in the position that she is.”

In a happy twist, however, the provincial deputy of Santa Fe, Roy López Molina, announced via Twitter that the pension was reactivated, following the uproar caused by Martinez’s story going viral. Molina stated that Martinez “will recover from August retroactive to the month of May.” The legislator continued, “As with Yanina’s pension, all the cases are being reviewed, and if there were any errors they will be solved. If we are wrong, we correct.”