Julio Cesar de Oliveira (© Oscar Muñoz Badilla)
The Brazilian team dominated the 49th edition of the South American Championships, which took at Lima’s Videna Stadium on 12-14 June.
In spite of the unfriendly weather – some rain and autumn temperatures – the oldest continental area championships in the world produced some fine performances.
Brazil’s Júlio César de Oliveira, who showed tremendous potential more than a decade ago when winning the world youth title in 2003, took the javelin title with 81.22m, setting a championship record and improving the Brazilian record. His series was: 77.06m, 77.40m, 79.25m, 79.57m, 78.41m and 81.22m.
The 29-year-old set the previous Brazilian record of 80.05m in 2009 and had thrown 80.29m earlier that year in an unsanctioned competition.
The event was highly contested and displayed fine performances; Argentina’s Braian Toledo, the 2010 Youth Olympic champion, was second with 79.34m and Colombia’s Arley Ibargüen was third with 75.47m.
Argentina’s Germán Chiaraviglio also displayed fine form, returning to the level of performances he had as a junior athlete. The 28-year old, who won world youth gold in 2003 and world junior gold in 2006, captured the pole vault title with 5.70m, one centimetre short of his personal best and national record set when winning the world junior title nine years ago.
Chiaraviglio opened at 5.30m, which he cleared on his second attempt, then went over 5.50m on his first try and 5.70m after two attempts. He later had three misses at 5.80m. Brazil’s World Championships finalist Augusto Dutra de Oliveira failed to clear his opening height of 5.50m.
South American record for Arenas
Colombia’s Lorena Arenas, the 2012 world junior silver medallist, set a South American record in the 20,000m race walk with 1:31:02.25. Arenas won comfortably after her main opposition, Peruvian Kimberly García and Brazilian Érica de Sena, were disqualified after the halfway point.
Pleased with her title, Arenas said she hopes to improve her 20km road national record of 1:30:18. “The girls have better performances than me on the road, but they always get in trouble at the track events,” said Arenas. Another Colombian, Ingrid Hernández, was second in 1:36:42.08.
Uruguay’s best performance since 1919
Even with a small delegation, Uruguay posted its best performance in the event since 1919, at the inaugural edition of the championships when only three nations were competing.
The Uruguayans, capped by the excellent Deborah Rodríguez, won four events in total. The 22-year-old Rodríguez set national records with her victories at 800m (2:01.46) and 400m hurdles (56.33, also championship record).
Fellow 400m hurdler Andres Silva took the men’s event with a season’s best of 49.43, capturing his third South American crown.
But the most unexpected gold medal won by a Uruguayan athlete came from Emiliano Lasa, who set a national record of 8.09m (1.9m/s) to win the long jump. Two-time world indoor champion Mauro Vinícius da Silva finished third with 7.81m.
Lima also brought five more championship records – beside the ones by Júlio de Oliveira, Arenas, and Rodríguez at 400m hurdles.
Ecuador’s Byron Piedra won the 10,000m in 28:30.80, Brazil’s Jucilene de Lima threw 60.16m to win the javelin and Colombia’s Gerard Giraldo took the 3000m steeplechase in 8:29.53. Two days before winning the steeplechase, Colombia’s Muriel Coneo set a championship record of 4:10.14 in the 1500m, while compatriot Evelys Aguilar won the heptathlon with 5906, breaking the championship and national records.
In the men’s events, other fine performances were achieved by Venezuela’s Alberth Bravo at 400m (45.26), Colombia’s Rafith Rodríguez at 800m (1:46.48), Colombia’s Mauricio Ortega in the discus (61.36m) and Argentina’s Germán Lauro in the shot, who threw a season’s best of 20.77m to win his sixth title in a row.
The other top female performers included Peru’s Inés Melchor in the 10,000m (32:28.87), Venezuela’s Robeilys Peinado in the pole vault (4.35m), Yulimar Rojas in the triple jump (wind-assisted 14.14m and 14.05m), Rosa Rodríguez in the hammer (71.77m), Brazilians Geisa Arcanjo in the shot (17.76m) and Andressa de Morais in the discus (61.15m) and Ecuador’s María Balvina Pastuña in the 5000m, who set a national record of 15:49.33.
As per the qualification system laid out by the IAAF, all South American champions – regardless of their winning marks – will be considered as having achieved the entry standard for the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015.
Brazil topped the medals table with 11 gold, 15 silver and eight bronzes, ahead of Colombia (9, 6, 6) and Venezuela (8, 8, 6).
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF