LAZARO Martínez arrived on Friday determined to give himself a crown for his 26th birthday and he got it. Along the way, he regained the triple jump title for Cuba in the middle of the final athletics section of the XIX Pan American Games.
The man from Guantanamo became the seventh person on the Island to master this specialty, thanks to a jump of 17.19 meters in his first attempt, enough to “cool” the competition, because no one else could come close to that mark.
The Budapest 2023 world runner-up returned to the vault but missed his second attempt. Seeing the way his opponents presented themselves, he abandoned his next opportunities, a strategy defined for situations like this.
“My coach told me that I need to make sure of a jump, because we don’t know when the weather changes and the cold starts. That’s what I did and I feel very happy,” he said iashe passed through the mixed zone of the National Stadium in Chile with his first Pan American crown in his hand.
“At least I will take ten days off. It was an intense year, where I achieved goals. Then it’s time to prepare for Paris 2024,” he said, thinking about an Olympic event in which he could be among its medals.
Regarding his relationship with his coach Yoelbi Quesada, he admitted that it was the best thing that happened to him. The chemistry between them is caying off, to the point where they can be proud of dominating the competition that their coach reigned in three times.
There may have been more to the night, but Brazilian Almir Dos Santos stood between Cristian Nápoles and the silver medal. The South American anchored the second place with a jump of 16.92 meters, which was out of reach of the native of Havana, this time third with a mark of 16.66 meters.
It was seen that Cristian was disappointed in the awards ceremony and broke down in tears in the possible media exchange. The feeling of not meeting expectations was overwhelming, just like it had been a few minutes before.
ZAYAS IS DONE IN THE END SOFTLY
IFouryears ago his victory was one of the best surprises, Luis Enrique Zayas came to this edition as the man who defeated the high jump.
The pressure that always includes the defense of a crown was seen at times, while from the stands his coach Juan Francisco Centelles and the world record holder Javier Sotomayor, former monarchs of these struggles, tried to correct- id and support.
“For my taste ,it was a regular competition, the technique of the impulse race was not good and I almost got complicated,” confessed the man from Santiago after recovering from the “fear” thanks to a saving jump of 2.2, executed in the third attempt.
“It’s not a world-class brand, but tonight it gave me the gold medal and I’m happy,” he accepted, enjoying his double reign, although he knows how hard he will work to shine next time. that season, which comes with greater challenges.
It caught the attention of many that, before the decisive jump, the Bahamian Donald Thomas, then with the bronze medal safe, approached the Cuban to give his advice. The image is one of the best examples of fair play seen in this event,and leaves more than one eager for details…
“He told me to activate the first steps of the momentum race so that I could reach the jump well,” said Zayas about what happened, after failing several times in the winning length. Thomas and Puerto Rican Luis Joel Castro finished with 2.24 meters, but the best position belonged to Puerto Rico.
SILVER AND BRONZE THAT SHINES LIKE GOLD
Runners Daily Cooper and Yoao Illas became a kind of uncrowned champions. He was thankful for his silver medal in the 1,500-meter race; He had a personal best in the 4400-meterhurdles, valid to get the bronzed metal.
“I came wup ith a prediction of fifth place, but in the competition ,I realized that I could do it. “I even had the strength to go on the outside and come in second,” happily commented the mmiddle-distancerunner, the second Cuban to win a medal away from the Pan American events.
Illas, who announced the goal of breaking under 50 seconds, finished with the same pride. He did this by stopping the clocks at 49.74 seconds.
“I feel happier with the brand than with the medal. For me that is more important, even though I enjoyed the award,” he confessed, satisfied with his debut in these competitions. His performance allowed him to join the Jamaican Jaheel Hyde (49.19) and the Brazilian Matheus Lima (49.69) on the podium.
The day ended with the fourth place of Zurian Hechavarría in the 4400-meterhurdles, with a time of 57.70 seconds. Rose Mary Almanza (2:02.87 minutes) and Sahily Diago (2:05.71) secured a place in the 8800-meterfinal set to close this Saturday.