Sandra Arenas on the podium after winning the 20,000m race walk at the ODESUR Games (© Oscar Muñoz Badilla)
Colombia’s Lorena Arenas produced the best result of the first day of competition at the ODESUR Games (South American Games) in the Chilean capital of Santiago on Thursday (13) by setting a South American 20,000m race walk record.
Arenas, a 20-year-old from Calarca and winner of the junior women’s 10km race at the 2012 IAAF World Race Walking Cup, dominated the race from the fourth kilometre (18:57.8). After reaching half way in 46:30.9, Arenas started to build up a decisive gap over compatriot Sandra Galvis.
The young Colombian, who placed 22nd at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow and had won the Chihuahua stop of the 2014 IAAF Race Walking Challenge, covered the second half of the race in 45:16.0, a clocking that would have even beaten the existing South American 10,000m race walk record of 45:29.6, held by Venezuela’s Milanggela Rosales.
Nevertheless, Arenas’s winning time of 1:31:46.9 improved the previous 20,000m record of 1:32:09.4 set by compatriot Ingrid Hernandez at the 2011 South American Championships in Buenos Aires.
“I felt very good since the beginning of the contest, although the sun was very strong and it was warm at the track,” said Arenas, who left Galvis in second place with a personal best of 1:34:04.4 and Brazilian Erica de Sena in third (1:36:37.3).
“The race left me very satisfied. My goal is to be in even better shape at the upcoming Taicang World Cup, where my target is to walk under 1:30. However, I’m happy with today’s result. I was able to keep my pace and that brought me the record.”
The initial day of competition in Santiago also delivered the champions of both 10,000m races. In the men’s event, Ecuador’s Bayron Piedra benefited from a comfortable pace (14:25.43 at 5000m), which enabled him to seal his 28:48.31 victory with a fast final 1000m (2:40.79).
The 31-year-old broke the Games record that had stood since 1986 to compatriot Rolando Vera (28:53.90). Brazilian Giovani dos Santos was second, also with 28:53.90.
Peruvian Ines Melchor took the victory in the women’s race, also setting a Games record with 33:10.06. The 27-year-old, the national record-holder for the 5000m, 10,000m and marathon, took command of the contest at the half-way point (16:57.59) and led a Peruvian 1-2, with Wilma Arizapana in second with 33:26.84.
Three fouls by Braz da Silva in pole vault
What seemed to be a promising pole vault contest ended with a slight disappointment. Brazilian Augusto Dutra de Oliveira claimed the victory with 5.40m (the only height he attempted), beating Argentina’s German Chiaraviglio, the 2006 world junior champion, who managed 5.35m.
Dutra de Oliveira was coming from placing seventh at the 2014 World Indoor Championships in Sopot (5.65m), where his compatriot Thiago Braz da Silva was fourth with 5.75m. However, in Santiago, Braz could not clear his initial height of 5.20m.
In the remaining finals of the first day, Paraguay’s Victor Fatecha took the javelin gold medal with his first-round throw of 76.09m, winning his third consecutive title and becoming the only athlete to claim that honour.
Venezuela’s Rosa Rodriguez also won with a first-round throw, taking the women’s hammer title with a Games record of 68.61m. And Brazilian Keila Costa claimed the long jump gold with 6.35m (0.5m/s).
The 10th edition of the multisport games is taking place at Santiago de Chile’s National Stadium and will conclude on 16 March.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF