Brazilian sprinter Lorraine Martins (© Oscar Munoz Badilla)
For the first time in almost 100 years of athletics history in South America, Guyana hosted an area event: the 42nd edition of the South American Junior Championships, which took place on 3-4 June at the National Track and Field Center in Leonora, Georgetown.
Brazil dominated the event, held in the tropical conditions of Guyana, which favoured the sprinters and jumpers. The South American giant led both the medal table and the points classification. Guyana, Colombia, Peru and Argentina followed in points, while Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Guyana followed in the medal table.
Lorraine Martins secured two of Brazil’s gold medals by winning the 100m and 200m. Running into strong headwinds, the 17-year-old captured the 100m with a personal best of 11.56 (-3.1m/s) and the 200m in 23.89 (-2.6m/s). Martins will be eligible to compete at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 next month.
Compton Caesar brought the happiest moment to the local crowd with his victory in the 100m. The 19-year-old improved the national U20 record to 10.37 (-1.6m/s) and delivered Guyana’s first gold medal at the event in the history of the championships. Brazil’s world U18 silver medallist Derick Silva was second in 10.45.
Up until this edition, Guyana’s participation at the South American Junior Championships has not been consistent as the Caribbean nation had only obtained three gold medals. 17-year-old Chantoba Bright provided another glorious moment with her victory in the long jump with 6.30m. The lack of wind readings in that event prevented Bright’s mark from standing as a national U20 record, but she will have another attempt at bettering it when she competed at the upcoming World U18 Championships.
Three championship records
Ecuador’s Marcos Herrera, Yuleixi Angulo and Chile’s Mariana García delivered the only championship records.
Herrera captured the 110m hurdles victory with a national U20 record of 13.58 (-1.9m/s), adding his gold to the one obtained at the 2016 South American Youth Championships. It was Ecuador’s second victory at the event following Jackson Quiñónez’s win in 1999. Brazil’s Vitor Matheus Souza was second in 13.87.
García took the hammer victory with 60.42m, coming close to her own national U20 record of 60.83m. The Chilean also had won her event at the 2016 South American Youth Championships.
Angulo delivered a brilliant victory in the javelin, setting championship and national senior records with her 54.00m performance. The mark makes the 16-year-old a possible medal contender for the upcoming World U18 Championships in Nairobi.
José Luis Mandros secured the long jump title with a Peruvian U20 record of 7.91m (0.0m/s). The previous mark of 7.87m, set at altitude by Fernando Valiente, had stood for almost 30 years.
World U18 champion Maribel Caicedo of Ecuador triumphed in the 100m hurdles with 14.32 (0.6m/s). The mark was far from her 13.19 area U20 record as she got off to a poor start, but she managed to catch Brazil’s Vitória Alves (14.41) before the tape.
Besides double sprint winner Martins, Brazil’s Jeferson dos Santos, Daniel do Nascimento, Saymon Hoffmann and Argentina’s Ailén Armada also captured double victories in Georgetown.
Dos Santos won the 800m and 1500m (1:56.35, 4:00.95), while Do Nascimento triumphed at the 5000m and 10,000m (14:53.71 and 31:01.64), all in tactical races. Both Hoffmann (16.57m and 54.59m) and Armada (14.34m, 47.43m) took the shot and discus titles.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF