Leticia de Oliveira on her way to a 400m hurdles championship record at the South American U18 Championships (© Wagner Carmo/CBAt)
The usual Brazilian dominance was displayed at the 25th edition of the South American U18 Championships, held in the Paraguayan city of Encarnacion, by the Parana River and on the border with Argentina, on 25-26 September.
The city's first area event, held at the track of the ‘Centro Comunitario’, saw the largest South American nation top the medal table with 47 (15 gold, 19 silver and 13 bronze), ahead of Colombia with 30 (11, 8, 11) and Argentina with 19 (7, 7, 5). Ten of the 11 participating nations obtained at least one medal, while Surinam and Guyana did not attend.
Two championship records were improved, as Brazilian Leticia de Oliveira clocked 59.33 in the women's 400m hurdles and Colombian Nerly Cantoni leapt 6.14m in the women's long jump.
De Oliveira took the very competitive 400m hurdles ahead of Colombian Maria Alejandra Murillo, who clocked 59.55 and was also inside the previous championship record (59.64 by Colombian Valeria Cabezas, from 2018). De Oliveira, who was born in Portugal to Brazilian parents and trains in Santa Catarina, also set a personal best.
The long jump witnessed a peculiar situation. The event was won by 16-year-old Vanessa dos Santos from Brazil with a wind-aided 6.15m (2.5m/s) from round four. The 17-year-old Cantoni jumped a wind-legal 6.14m (1.7m/s) in round five, which broke the championship record and secured her the silver medal. Dos Santos’s best legal jump came in round one, when she had an effort of 6.10m (1.7m/s). The previous championship best was 6.13m by Brazilian Leticia de Melo (from 2014) and Colombian Yuly Quinto (from 2016).
Other remarkable performances came from Argentina's Tomas Mondino, Brazil's Gabriel dos Santos, Ecuador's Wilson Navarrete and Anita Poma of Peru.
Mondino won the men's 100m and 200m double (10.59 and 21.94), just as he had done at the 2021 South American U20 Championships in Lima. The 16-year-old also reached the 100m semifinals of the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi in August.
Gabriel dos Santos won the 800m in 1:51.24, a personal best and third best-ever performance in the history of the 800m at the event. Colombian Pedro Marin was second with 1:53.00.
Ecuadorian Navarrete took the title in the 2000m steeplechase, the sole gold medal for Ecuador at the event, in 5:58.61, ahead of Argentina’s Jeronimo Peralta.
Peru’s Poma, with a fine victory at 800m in 2:11.75, also delivered her country’s only gold.
Brazil topped the points classification with 410, ahead of Colombia (249), Argentina (230) and Chile (103).
Eduardo Biscayart for World Athletics