Andressa de Morais in the discus at the South American Championships (© Oscar Munoz Badilla)
Brazil’s Andressa Oliveira de Morais produced the most significant result of the 50th South American Championships, which took place in Luque, a suburb of Asunción, Paraguay, on 23-25 June.
The 26-year-old from Paraiba broke her own South American discus record with 64.68m, adding 47 centimetres to the mark she set in 2012. Her series to obtain her third South American title was: 61.27m, 63.82m, 61.88m, 64.88m and two fouls.
“I’m very happy with the result,” she said. “It’s a ratification of the good job we are doing.”
Soares beats Rojas
In a surprising result, 21-year-old Brazilian Núbia Soares took the triple jump title from Venezuela’s Olympic silver medallist and world leader Yulimar Rojas.
In a competition marked by strong winds, like most of the championships, Soares grabbed the victory with a third-round leap of 14.42m (4.2m/s). Rojas managed 14.36m (1.4m/s), also in round three, and retired after a foul in her fourth attempt, feeling discomfort and pain in her left knee.
Soares, who finished fourth at the 2013 World Youth Championships, is the fifth Brazilian woman to win the South American triple jump title and now appears to be a potential medal contender for the IAAF World Championships London 2017.
The athlete born in Minas Gerais, and coached by Aristide Junqueira, set a personal best in the recent Troféu Brasil with 14.56m, two centimetres short of the Brazilian record set by Keila Costa in 2013.
The warm temperatures, and strong winds, created favourable conditions at the newly opened track, located at the complex of the Paraguayan Olympic Committee. That was the case of the decathlon, where Brazil’s Jefferson Santos took the title with 8187 (10.77, 7.48m, 13.88m, 2.06m, 49.97, 14.57, 50,41m, 4.80m, 55.10m, 4:43.99), ahead of Venezuelan Geormi Jaramillo with 8126 (10.70, 7,76m, 14.46m, 1.79m, 48.99, 13.96, 46.37m, 4.60m, 62,86m, 4:45.94). The strong following winds in the 100m, long jump and sprint hurdles mean the performances will be considered wind assisted.
The strong winds also upset other good performances, such as Angela Tenorio’s 11.02 (3.4m/s) victory for Ecuador in the 100m or Vitória Rosa’s 22.67 (2.8m/s) win for Brazil in the 200m.
Yáñez leaps 2.31m
Eure Yáñez surprised with his 2.31m victory in the high jump, setting championship and national records and becoming the first Venezuelan to win the event. The 24-year-old’s previous best was 2.27m from 2014.
On his way to the victory Yáñez cleared 2.10m, 2.16m, 2.19m 2.22m, and 2.25m on his first attempt. He then followed with national records of 2.28m and 2.31m, both on his second attempts at those heights. He had one foul at 2.34m and retired.
“It means a lot to me to be able to qualify for the World Championships and to move up to third place on the South American all-time list,” said Yáñez, who will now try to find a few competitions in Europe before London.
Brazilian shot putter Darlan Romani is another South American who could place high in London. The 25-year-old, who finished fifth at the Olympics last year, set a championship record of 21.02m, extending his good run of form after improving the South American record to 21.82m earlier this month.
Other championship records were set by Colombia’s Mauricio Ortega with 63.82m in the men’s discus, Panama’s Gianna Woodruff with 56.04 in the women’s 400m hurdles, Argentina’s Belén Casetta with 9:51.40 in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Colombia’s Flor Denis Ruiz with 61.91m in the women’s javelin, and the Brazilian women’s 4x100m team with 43.12.
World finalist Ortega retained his title from 2015. US-born Woodruff, who recently improved the South American record to 55.76, won Panama’s second gold medal in female events. Ruiz, the South American record holder with 63.84m, recaptured the title she had previously won in 2013.
Glory for Guyana and Suriname
A couple of historic moments happened in Luque. Guyana’s Winston George and Suriname’s Miguel van Assen delivered the first gold medals for their countries in men’s events in the history of the 98-year-old championships.
The 30-year-old George won the 400m in 45.42, a season’s best and his third best time ever, while the 19-year-old Van Assen took the triple jump title with a national record of 16.94m (2.0m/s).
For the first time in the history of the event, all 13 countries in the South American area obtained at least one medal and 11 of them won gold. Brazil once again dominated the medals table with a total of 36 (17 gold, 12 silver and seven bronze), followed by Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Chile.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF