Feature26 Jul 2020

Area in focus: postcards from South America


Brazilian 400m hurdler Marcio Teles (© Getty Images)

We conclude our 'area in focus' series look at South America with a selection of images which show how athletes from the area have dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.


Brazilian 400m hurdles champion Marcio Teles

Four years after making his Olympic debut on home soil, Brazilian 400m hurdler Marcio Teles had been hoping to compete at his second Games this year. "We have to adapt," he says. "It's not easy to stay away from the tracks, but I think it will soon pass, we have to think positive."

Marcio Teles (Getty Images)

Marcio Teles (Getty Images)

Marcio Teles (Getty Images)

(© Getty Images)


Chilean athletes

Like many sportspeople around the world, some of Chile's leading athletes have had to adapt their homes so that they can continue to train. Brothers Sebastian, Eduardo and Nicolas Martin, for example, have created a makeshift pole vault stand - complete with a trampoline landing mat - in their back garden.

Sebastian Martin (Oscar Munoz Badilla)

Eduardo Martin (Oscar Munoz Badilla)

Nicolas Martin (Oscar Munoz Badilla)

Paul Bouey (Oscar Munoz Badilla)

Joaquin Ballivian (Oscar Munoz Badilla)

Pole vaulters Sebastian, Eduardo and Nicolas Martin, shot putters Paul Bouey and Joaquin Ballivian (© Oscar Munoz Badilla)


Olympic pole vault champion Thiago Braz

Thiago Braz is based in Formia, Italy, for most of the year, which proved problematic during the early stages of the pandemic as Italy was one of the hardest hit nations. Now, however, Italy is easing out of lockdown and Braz's usual training facility has reopened, while cases in his home country of Brazil are, unfortunately, very much on the rise.

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A post shared by Thiago Braz (@thiagobrazpv) on

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Facilities - closed and repurposed

While many tracks throughout the area have been closed, other athletics facilities have been put to good use. The athletes' parks and villages for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, for example, have been converted into temporary hospitals to receive Covid-19 patients.

A closed track in Santiago, Chile

Carolina Park in Quito

Rio athletes park (Getty Images)

Lima (Getty Images)

(© AFP / Getty Images)


Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen

Colombian triple jumper Caterine Ibarguen misses being on the international circuit. "I'm dying to go back to doing what I love, which I sometimes complained about but today I miss," she says. "For now, though, it is better to be at home."


South American race walk champion Erica de Sena

Brazilian race walker Erica de Sena, along with her husband and fellow race walker Andres Chocho, has been based in Ecuador throughout the whole of lockdown. For a long time they had to do most of their training indoors on a treadmill, but in recent weeks the restrictions have eased and they're allowed back outside.

"My body has changed a little," she says. "I still weigh the same, but with some changes. We're now gradually returning to strong training and trying to recover what we lost. During these times of training at home, I gained in some aspects and lost in others. But life goes on."