Franck Caldeira de Almeida
Brazilian Franck Caldeira de Almeida won the Men’s Marathon, the last athletics event of the XV Pan-American Games that ended in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday 29 July. In yet another rainy day, de Almeida crossed the finish line at the “Parque do Flamengo” in 2:14:03, a personal best.
De Almeida, from Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais made the Brazilian team after Marílson dos Santos, winner of the 2006 New York City Marathon, opted to run the 5000 and 10,000m. The 24-year-old had won the traditional São Silvestre read race in São Paulo last 31 December 2006, and earlier on 8 October had been fourth (2:14:06) at the Milano Marathon.
Guatemalans Amado García and Alfredo Arévalo took the lead just before the 20Km mark, at the area of Arpoador, and at they clocked 1:07:29 at the Half Marathon point. At that stage, De Almeida and teammate Vanderlei de Lima, the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, were 14 seconds behind in a second group along with Procopio Franco (MEX), Luis Fonseca (VEN), Diego Colorado (COL), Silvio Guerra (ECU), José Alejandro Semprúm (VEN) and Norbert Gutiérrez (CUB).
At the “Elevado da Avenida Perimetral”, around the 35Km mark, García pushed the pace and opened a 200m gap. At that point, the rain became more and more intense, but an inspired de Almeida responded and eventually caught the Guatemalan at the 39thkm. From that point the Brazilian pushed the pace to cross the line wrapped with his national flag.
Twenty-nine year-old García was second in 2:14:27 and Procopio Franco was third in 2:15:18. This is the fourth Brazilian victory of the Games in the men’s Marathon after Ivo Rodriguez won in Indianapolis ’87 and Vanderlei de Lima in Winnipeg ’99 and Santo Domingo ’03. This time, de Lima abandoned at the 37th km due to muscular problems.
García’s medal is the ninth in the history of Guatemala at the athletics competitions of the Games, and only the second silver after Teodoro Palacios was second at HJ in São Paulo ’63. The only gold medal for the Central American nation was obtained by Mateo Flores, also at the Marathon in Mexico City ’55.
USA wins overall standings – Cuba the medal table
The US team won the overall competition by scoring 308.5 points. Brazil, in a historical performance in number of victories and medals was second with 270 points, and Cuba was third with 263, ahead of Mexico (132), Canada (103) and Jamaica (102).
In terms of medals, the strong Cuban team, pretty much the base of the one that will compete at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Osaka, Japan (25 Aug to 2 Sep) dominated with 12 golds, 8 silvers and 10 bronzes. Then, Brazil collected 9-5-9, USA 6-12-6, and Canada 6-4-2.
With respects to individual performances, 13 Games records were improved:
Men’s: 100m (equalled): 10.06 Churandy Martina AHO; 800m: 1:44.58 Yeimar López CUB; 1500m: 3:36.32 Hudson de Souza BRA; 5000m: 13:25.60 Ed Moran USA; 1000m: 28:08.74 José David Galván MEX; Decathlon: 8278 Maurice Smith JAM.
Women’s: 100m: 11.02 Mikele Barber USA; 10,000m: 32:54.41 Sara Slattery USA; 3000m St. (inaugural): 9:51.13 Sabine Heitling BRA; 100m Hurdles: 12.65 (shared) Deloreen Ennis-London JAM & Perdita Felicien CAN; PV: 4.60 Fabiana Murer BRA; TJ: 14.80 Yargelis Savigne CUB; HT: 75.40 Yipsi Moreno CUB.
According to the IAAF Scoring Tables, Canadian Adam Kunkel and Jamaican Deloreen Ennis-London and also Candian Perdita Felicien obtained the top male and female performances.
Kunkel’s 48.24 at 400m Hurdles were worth 1210 points, and Ennis-London and Felicien’s 12.65 at 110m hurdles were worth 1197 points.
The next edition of the Games, in 2011, will be in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF
Results - Day 7
1 Franck de Almeida BRA 2:14:03
2 Amado García GUA 2:14:27
3 Procopio Franco MEX 2:15:18
4 Jacob Frey USA 2:16:44
5 Luis Fonseca VEN 2:17:04
6 Chris Lundstrom USA 2:18:05
7 Diego Colorado COL 2:20:01
8 Francisco Bautista MEX 2:21:05