Just one day after winning the third place in the Atacama Rally, Rafał Sonik and his team members showed up on one of the main plazas by the entrance to Copiapó. Having received the approval of the city authorities, the Polish team cleaned the World Peace Sculpture, a huge monument placed in the memory of 33 miners rescued in 2010 after 70 days underground.
Summer of 2010 was a dramatic time for the people of Copiapó, after a cave-in at a local copper-gold mine. 33 miners got trapped underground in a classroom-size area. Facing the temperature of 40 C and 98% humidity, the miners had to wait 70 days before the rescue services were able to drill a borehole and extract the miners one by one in a specially-designed capsule.
The rescued miners have become national heroes with their ordeal recorded in a form of a book and film. In order to celebrate the successful rescue mission, a Chinese sculpture manufacturing company dedicated and brought one of their 12-meter high World Peace Sculptures to Copiapó. „I remember seeing it each time when I came to Copiapó. I was here during several Dakar rallies and all previous editions of the Atacama Rally,” said Rafał Sonik.
„Today, I’m back in Chile after a complicated injury and a long rehabilitation process,” continued Sonik, „I enjoyed every second of the race and taking the podium gave me a huge satisfaction. I wanted to celebrate that positive energy with my team members, who had worked so hard to achieve our excellent result. I decided to leave a mark in Copiapó as well, showing our appreciation to its residents for their support, cordiality, and welcoming atmosphere that we always enjoy here.”
The Polish champion quickly went from words to actions. Along with his team, they prepared a letter to the city council to receive a green light for their idea. Next, the RS team rented a boom and got everything set for the great Sunday cleaning of the World Peace Sculpture.
„I believe it’s nothing special to approach the world as it is. The real achievement is to try to make it a better place, even on the tiniest scale. We are paying tribute to human courage and perseverance, but also to the artistry of execution,” added the six-time winner of the FIM World Championships.
The Polish initiative was hailed by the city authorities, organizers of the rally, and local fans. Moreover, the head of the Atacama Rally organizing committee, inspired by Sonik’s team’s idea, announced that he would also get more socially active in Copiapó during the next edition of the rally.Tagi: Atacama Rally