Brazil's Area Record winning 4x400m relay team (Eduardo Biscayart) © Copyright
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Brazil reigns supreme in South American Championships

Barquisimeto, VenezuelaBrazil confirmed its supremacy of the South American continent’s athletics scene, and retained the overall title at the 42nd edition of the area championships, which finished on Sunday (22 June) in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.


Brazil collected a total of 27 gold medals, 18 silver and 9 bronze. In the previous edition, in Manaus, Brazil, the total count was 33/23/13.


Only one Area Record fell in the entire competition, and it happened on the last day, when Brazil improved its own mark in the women’s 4x400 metres relay, with a clocking of 3:28.64. The old record had lasted for almost 15 years, and it was 3:29.22.

The “verdeamarelho” team was composed by Maria Laura Almirão (52.4 split), Josiane Tito (52.3), Lucimar Teodoro (52.0) and Geisa Coutinho (51.9). Venezuela was second with a NR of 3:34.30, and Colombia third with 3:41.01.


The men’s version of the long relay was somehow controversial. Brazil won it by more than 4 seconds in 3:05.28, but the Venezuelan team protested about an apparent interference, which lead the locals to drop the baton on the third leg, while both teams were running an even race.

As a consequence of this, the Brazilians were initially disqualified, and later reinstated. Venezuela was able to recover and finished second behind Brazil, while Colombia almost beat Argentina at the finish line.


Twelve finals took place on Sunday

In what was probably the biggest surprise of the whole meeting, Uruguayan Heber Viera beat Brazil’s Claudinei da Silva in the 200 metres final. 32-year-old Claudinei, silver medalist at the 1999 World Championships, ran a rather poor curve, and Viera’s final straight was too strong. The time for the Uruguayan was 20.60, 3/100 of second faster than da Silva’s. In third place came 18-year-old Brazilian Jorge Célio da Rocha Sena, in 20.71. For Uruguay it is the first medal at the event since Mario Fayos’ at the 1949 edition of the championships (21.7), in Lima Peru.


One championship record – other than the women’s 4x400 – also to fall on Sunday, was the women’s Hammer. Brazilian Katiuscia de Jesus won the event with 61.01m (from the 4th round). Second was Josiane Soares (BRA) with 59.65m, and third Adriana Beneventa (VEN) with 58.34m. It was Brazil’s first victory in this event, since it was introduced to the championships in 1995.


Elisângela Adriano added another title to her illustrious collection, by winning the Shot with 18.34m. It was Elisângela’s 6th consecutive victory in the SP, and 10 gold in total (12, counting 2 silvers) in the history of the Championships. It equals the feat of another Brazilian, Wanda dos Santos, who also won 6 consecutive titles at 80mh from 1949-1961. Second and third, with national records for both athletes were Colombian Luz Dary Castro (16.59m) and Chilean Marianne Berndt (16.39m).


Luciana de Paula Mendes won the 800 metres with a season’s best of 2:02.06, ahead of compatriot Christiane Ritz dos Santos with a PB of 2:02.50, and Colombian Rosibel García’s National record of 2:02.84.

For 32-year-old Mendes it has been her 4th consecutive in an event where she holds the Championship record.

In the men’s version of the 2-laps, Fabiano Peçanha (BRA), who had won the 1500m, surprised countryman Osmar Barbosa dos Santos, to take the win with 1:46.32 to 1:46.92. Third was Venezuela’s Simoncito Silvera (1:48.31). After a 52.0 first lap, dos Santos seemed in control in the backstretch, but Peçanha was able to hold on, and beat Osmar in the final stages of the race.


Another athlete to complete a double victory was Colombian Melisa Murillo, who on Sunday won the 200m, after taking the victory in the 100m on Friday (11.35). With a PB of 23.13, Murillo beat South American record holder, Brazilian Lucimar de Moura (23.34).Third was Venezuela’s Wilmary Álvarez with 23.40, a new national record, and also a new area junior record.


The rest of the victories of the day belonged to Brazilian athletes. Fabrício de Azevedo Romero won the HJ with 2.22m, Sérgio Galdino the 20000m Walk with 1:25:54.2, and Keila Costa the TJ with 13.62m.


Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF




Third and final day – Sunday June 22, 2003


200m (-0.9): 1 Heber Viera URU 20.60, 2 Claudinei da Silva BRA 20.63, 3 Jorge Célio Sena BRA 20.71

800m: 1 Fabiano Peçanha BRA 1:46.32, 2 Osmar dos Santos BRA 1:46.92, 3 Simoncito Silvera VEN 1:48.31

HJ: 1 Fabrízio Romero BRA 2.22, 2 Jessé de Lima BRA 2.22, 3 Alfredo Deza PER 2.16

4x400m: 1 Brazil (Ambrósio, de Araújo, Godoy, A.J. dos Santos) 3:05.28, 2 Venezuela (Palma, Luna, Nuñez, Hernández) 3:09.26, 3 Colombia (Chávez, Espinoza, Bermúdez, Rojas) 3:09.48

20000m W: 1 Sérgio Galdino BRA 1:25:54.2, 2 Freddy Hernández COL 1:26:00.0, 3 Cristián Muñoz CHI 1:31:16.1


200m (0.0): 1 Digna Murillo COL 23.13, 2 Lucimar de Moura BRA 23.34, 3 Wilmary Álvarez VEN 23.40

800m: 1 Luciana Mendes BRA 2:02.06, 2 Christiane Ritz dos Santos 2:02.50, 3 Rosibel García COL 2:02.84

5000m: Maria Cristina Rodrigues BRA 16:11.70, 2 Erika Olivera CHI 16:23.97, 3 Lucélia Peres BRA 16:36.31

TJ: 1 Keila Costa BRA 13.62/0.8, 2 Luciana dos Santos BRA 13.42/2.1, 3 Caterine Ibargüen COL 13.07/-0.1

SP: 1 Elisângela Adriano BRA 18.34, 2 Luz Dary Castro COL 16.59, 3 Marianne Berndt CHI 16.39

HT: 1 Katiuscia de Jesus BRA 61.01*, 2 Josiane Soares BRA 59.65, 3 Adriana Benaventa VEN 58.34

4x400m: 1 Brazil (Almirão, Tito, Teodoro, Coutinho) 3:28.64* AR, 2 Venezuela (W. Álvarez, Alfonso, Y. García, Pacheco) 3:34.30, 3 Colombia (Ararat, Oliveros, Brock, R. García) 3:41.05

* Championship Record


Final Medal Table

Country - Gold- Silver - Bronze-Total

BRA     27         19         8          54

VEN     5          9          10         24

COL      5          7          8          20

ARG     3          3          4          10

CHI       1          3          8          12


Final Points Clasification

Country - Men - Women-Overall

BRA     239       273       512

VEN     131       101       232

COL      63         110       173

CHI       58         74         132

ARG     77         39         116