Report13 May 2024

Ruiz breaks South American javelin record at Ibero-American Championships


Flor Denis Ruiz in the javelin at the Ibero-American Championships (© Oscar Munoz Badilla)

Colombia’s Flor Denis Ruiz broke her own South American javelin record with a world-leading 66.70m at the Ibero-American Championships in Cuaiba, which concluded on Sunday (12) after three days of action.

The world silver medallist opened with 59.07m, then followed it with throws of 65.36m, 66.70m and 62.83m before passing her final two attempts. It’s the 33-year-old’s third Ibero-American title, after winning in 2012 and 2016, and she added 1.23m to the South American record she set at last year’s World Championships. The thrower from Pradera, Valle del Cauca, barely missed the championship record of 66.99m, set in 2004 by Cuba’s Osleidys Menendez in a year in which she won the Olympic title.

In ideal conditions (27-28C and 58% humidity), the javelin final in Cuaiba was of a high standard. Brazilian record-holder and world finalist Jucilene de Lima was second with 62.31m, while 19-year-old Uruguayan Manuela Rotundo, the world U20 bronze medallist, was third with a national record of 61.84m. World finalist María Lucelly Murillo was fourth with 57.80m.

There were two South American javelin records set at the championships, as Brazil’s Pedro Nunes won the men’s contest with 85.11m. The previous area record of 84.70m, set by Paraguay’s Edgar Baumann, had stood since 1999.

In a hard-fought competition, Rodrigues was the leader after round one, with 81.54m, but Portugal’s Leandro Ramos passed him with a championship record of 82.66m in round two, then improved to 83.09m in round three.

Brazil’s Luiz Maurício da Silva threw 82.02m in round four to move into second, but Rodrigues unleashed the ultimate winning mark in the final round to secure victory and the records.

“I have been training very well with my coach Margareth Bahia Haiden, and wanted to take away from me the weight of setting the record,” said the 24-year-old from Parintins, in the State of Amazonas, who trains in Manaus. “All my training is focused on the Olympic Games, but it’s obvious that I needed to do well here and in the Grand Prix that will follow. I just missed the Olympic standard (85.50m), but I gained very important points.”

The competition, which was initiated in 1983, produced three other championship records, besides the case of those events held for the first time: Almir dos Santos in the triple jump, Martha Valeria Araujo in the heptathlon and Evelyn Inga in the 20km race walk.

Competing on Sunday night, Dos Santos dominated the men’s triple jump. The 2018 world indoor silver medallist won with a third-round effort of 17.31m (0.7m/s), his best performance since 2019. Cuba’s Andy Hechavarria was second with 16.93m, while Colombia’s Geiner Moreno was third with 16.54m.

Almir Dos Santos at the Ibero-American Championships

Almir Dos Santos at the Ibero-American Championships (© Oscar Munoz Badilla)

For Colombia’s Araujo, who retained her heptathlon title from 2022, it was a good 28th birthday, celebrated with a personal best and championship record of 6274. The mark also puts her second on the South American all-time list, behind fellow Colombian Evelis Aguilar, the area record-holder with 6346. Araujo’s series was highlighted by strong performances in the 100m hurdles (12.91) and long jump (6.32m).

Inga dominated the 20km race walk. The Peruvian, who was sixth at last year’s World Championships, passed half way in 46:39 before going on to win in 1:32:46, delivering her country’s only gold medal of the weekend. It was also Peru’s first ever race walks medal at the championships, having previously eluded two-time world champion Kimberly Garcia.

Other notable triumphs were achieved by Colombia’s Natalia Linares in the long jump (6.82m), Venezuela’s Robeilys Peinado in the pole vault (4.50m), Portugal’s Eliana Bandeira in the shot put (18.30m), and Brazil’s Izabela da Silva in the discus (63.60m).

There were also historic first victories in their events for their countries by Argentina’s Elián Larregina in the 400m (45.27, a national record), Panama’s Chamar Chambers at 800m (1:45.27, a national record), Chile’s Humberto Mansilla in the hammer (75.08m), Ecuador’s Andy Preciado in the decathlon (7913), Puerto Rico’s Gabby Scott at 400m (50.99), Chile’s Berdine Castillo at 800m (2:00.84), Uruguay’s María Pía Fernández at 1500m (4:11.65) and Puerto Rico’s Grace Claxton in the 400m hurdles (55.41).

This was the fifth time that Brazil had hosted the event, and the first ever major competition for the city of Cuiaba. The hosts finished as the top nation, producing 16 gold medals, 15 silver and 15 bronze, while Spain had four gold, seven silver and four bronze, ahead of Puerto Rico (four gold, two silver, one bronze).

Eduardo Biscayart for World Athletics

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