The Cuban man Luis Enrique Zayas now he has established himself as the king of men’s high jump in continental athletics by winning the gold medal in Pan American Games Santiago 2023 and retain the title obtained four years ago in Lima 2019.
The 26-year-old athlete crowned an excellent season with a painful victory in a hand-to-hand fight in Puerto Rican Luis Castrowho took the silver medal.
The Cuban was crowned the Santiago 2023 high jump champion with a jump of 2.27 meters achieved in his final attempt. For his part, Castro got the silver medal after jumping 2.24. The bronze medal was won by the 39-year-old veteran Donald Thomasfrom the Bahamas, Pan American champion in Guadalajara 2011, who also jumped 2.24.
Zayas ended a brilliant season this way. More than two months ago, he finished fourth in the men’s high jump at the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships with his all-time personal best, 2.33 meters. This time, 2.27 meters is enough for him to get gold in the 2023 Pan American Games, as happened in Líma 2019.
Zayas, former under-20 world champion and who finished three times in the best eight at the World Athletics Championships, just confirmed at the National Stadium in Santiago that he is now in a position to compete for the world high jump throne in the big leagues. discipline stars, like Italian Gianmarco Tamberi or the qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim.
The Cuban jumper found it more difficult than expected to win the gold medal at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games. Despite being the favorite, Zayas had a failed jump of 2.21 meters. That simple mistake almost cost him the second place in the result of the competition.
Luis Castro made a perfect performance up to 2.27 meters high: all his previous jumps were successful.
Puerto Rico jumped first and then Cuban. Both failed in the first two attempts at 2.2 meters and the gold medal was decided by the final jump of each. If both fail, the gold medal will go to the athlete from Puerto Rico. However, Zayas once again showed his personality and star mentality, absorbing the pressure and achieving a final successful jump of 2.27 meters (still grazing the bar), after his opponent failed on his third and final jump.