Ines Melchor of Peru (Daisy Zereceda - Atletismo Peruano) © Copyright
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Almachi and Melchor win South American Cross titles

Ecuador’s Miguel Almachi and Peru’s Inés Melchor won the senior races at the 25th South American Cross Country Championships, held on 27 February at the field of “Campus La Salle”, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The 24-year-old Almachi, original from the Department of Pichincha, became the third Ecuadorian to win the senior title at the Cross Country event. “I was lucky to recover from a fall at the early stages of the race, and to remain with the leaders throughout the competition”, said Almachi, who gained prominence in the South American scene in 2009 when finished sixth at 10,000m in the Area Championships of Lima with a PB of 30:19.63. More recently, the Ecuadorian also took the victory at the 15km road race “Carrera Internacional de Girardot”, in Colombia in January, with a clock of 46:02.

Almachi launched his final attack within 1500m to the end of the race, but it still proved to be a very exciting finish. The Ecuadorian, coached by former long distance runner Franklin Tenorio, won in 35:53 for the 12km distance, beating Brazilian Gilberto Lopes by a mere 2 seconds, and Uruguay’s Alexander de los Santos by 3.

The 2010 Brazilian champion and 2009 10,000m South American Champion, Damião de Souza (28:28.94 PB from 2009), could only finish in eighth place in 36:38.

Third title for Melchor

Even-years seem to be the lucky ones at this event for Peruvian Inés Melchor. The 23-year-old from Arequipa was able to repeat the titles she had already obtain in 2006 and 2008.

Melchor, the best female long-distance runner of the region in recent years (double 2009 South American champion at 5000 and 10000m), won the 8km race in 27:16, just ahead of Colombian Steeplechase specialist Ángela Figueroa (27:18), and Ecuador’s Rosa Alba Chacha (27:26).

Brazilian Zenaide Vieira, the 2010 national champion, and 2009 South American CC champion, abandoned due to muscular spasms in one of her calves.

Both Almachi and Melchor will be representing South America at the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, along with the Brazilian and Peruvian teams, winners of the group classification in men and women respectively.

The Peruvian contingent was once again very solid in the female side, also winning the junior and youth races. Jovana de la Cruz took the victory in the junior’s 6km competition with 20:52, while Charo Inga repeated the feat at the 3km race with 9:47.

At the male youth races, Ecuadorian Jorge Luis Arias won the 8km junior event in 24:26, while Brazilian Ioran Fernandes grabbed the 4km U-18 competition (only individual victory for Brazil) in 11:56.

Seven countries of the region sent athletes to Guayaquil, as Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Panama, Guyana and Surinam didn’t have any athletes representing their nations in Ecuador.

Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF



12 km Adult
1 Miguel Almachi ECU 35:53
2 Gilberto Lopes BRA 35:55
3 Alexander de los Santos URU 35:56
Teams: 1- BRA, 2- ECU, 3- PER

8 km Junior
1 Jorge Luis Arias ECU 24:25
2 Willy Canchanya PER 24:34
3 Juan Adrián Pillajo ECU 25:00
Teams: 1- ECU, 2- BRA, 3-PER

4 km Youth
1 Ioran Fernandes BRA 11:55
2 Jerson Orellana PER 11:57
3 Marcos Guamán ECU 12:03
Teams: 1- ECU, 2- BRA, 3- CHI


8 km Adult
1 Inés Melchor PER 27:16
2 Ángela Figueroa COL 27:17
3 Rosa Alba Chacha ECU 27:25
Teams: 1- PER, 2- ECU, 3- BRA

6 km Junior
1 Jovana de da Cruz PER 20:52
2 Soledad Torres PER 20:53
3 Eliona Delgado PER 20:54
Teams: 1- PER, 2- BRA, 3- ECU

3 km Youth
1 Charo Inga PER 9:47
2 Mery Rojas PER 10:07
3 Jéssica Soares BRA 10:07
Teams: 1- PER, 2- BRA, 3- ECU