Brazilian Marílson Gomes dos Santos, the South American 5000m, 10,000m and Half Marathon record holder, is heading for the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Edinburgh, Scotland (30 March 2008), after taking the South American title on Sunday 2 March in Asunción.
Competing at the 2km circuit at the “Parque Ñu Guazú”, the 30-year-old from Brasília, led throughout the race to take the victory in 37:28 over the distance of 12Km, with a 30 second margin over local Jorge Cabrera. Colombian Giovany Amador was third with 38:12.
It was a hot weekend in the middle of the tropical summer of Asunción where conditions were far from what the athletes may face in Edinburgh. The circuit at “Ñu Guazú” had plenty of sand, mud and water and tested the athletes’ endurance in a combination with the high temperatures.
This was Marílson’s first South American Cross Country title. Previously, in 1996, he finished second in the junior race of the event also held in Asunción. As the area champion, Gomes dos Santos earned the right to participate at the World Championships along with the Brazilian team that won the team competition with a 3 point margin over Colombia.
Melchor triumphs at Women’s 8Km
For the third time in her career (including one as a junior), 21 year-old Peruvian Inés Melchor took the South American title with a 28:19 time. Melchor lead for most of the race, and delivered a fast second lap of 7:01, followed by a third of 7:02, where she made most of the damage over Brazilian Zenaide Vieira.
The South American 3000m Steeplechase and recent national champion, was second with 28:31, while her compatriot Maria Zeferina Baldaia was third with 28:51.
Melchor had already triumphed in 2006 in Mar del Plata, and is the only Peruvian to win a senior title (both man and woman) at the event, which is held since 1986. The Brazilian team, with 11 points, won this team event by a wide margin over Argentina (25 points).
Brazilian and Peruvian victories, also in Junior and Youth races
18-year-old Brazilian Gilberto Lopes and 17 year-old Peruvian Yoni Ninahuamán took the junior races. Over 8Km, Lopes won in 26:22 with an 8 second margin over Paraguayan Derlis Ayala, while another Brazilian, Éderson Pereira, finished third in 26:48.
In the girls’ race, Ninahuamán, followed her 2007 Youth victory with one Junior in Asunción. Ninahuamán clocked 23:10 for the 6Km event. Compatriot Rosario Romero was second 8 seconds behind Ninhuamán, while another Preuvian, Yessica Huamán, was third in 23:37.
Romero, originally from Huancayo, led the race after a fast first lap of 7:25. Ninahuamán, from Cusco, took the first place at the second lap (15:20) and finished strongly to capture the victory.
Brazilian Antônio Barbosa Filho (16 years-old) won the 4Km Youth race in 12:29 over Peruvian René Champi, while another Peruvian, Soledad Torres (15 years-old), took the 3Km Women’s race in 10:37, leaving Argentina’s Florencia Borelli in second place.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF
23rd South American Cross Country Championships
Asunción, Paraguay, 2 March 2008
1 Marílson dos Santos BRA 37:28
2 Jorge Cabrera PAR 37:58
3 Giovany Amador COL 38:12
4 Cosme de Souza BRA 38:32
5 José Cícero Eloy BRA 38:35
Teams: BRA 15, COL 18, VEN 22
Junior (U-20) – 8Km
1 Gilberto Lopes BRA 26:22
2 Derlis Ayala PAR 26:30
3 Éderson Pereira BRA 26:48
4 Luis Orta VEN 27:13
5 José Leão da Silva BRA 27:16
Teams: BRA 9, ARG 23, PAR 25
Youth (U-18) – 4Km
1 Antônio Barbosa Filho BRA 12:29
2 René Champi PER 12:39
3 Miguel Ángel Amador COL 12:46
4 Cleiton Machado BRA 13:08
5 Evandro Maciel BRA 13:10
Teams: BRA 5, PAR 13
1 Inés Melchor PER 28:19
2 Zenaide Vieira BRA 28:31
3 Maria Zeferina Baldaia BRA 28:51
4 Josefina Sánchez BOL 29:12
5 Sandra Amarillo ARG 29:13
Teams: BRA 11, ARG 25, VEN 32
Junior (U-20) – 6Km
1 Yoni Ninahuamán PER 23:10
2 Rosario Ramos PER 23:18
3 Yessica Huamán PER 23:37
4 Viviane Figueirêdo BRA 24:02
5 Nadia Fernanda Conceição BRA 24:42
Teams: PER 6, BRA 19, ARG 22
Youth (U-18) – 3 Km
1 Soledad Torres PER 10:37
2 Florencia Borelli ARG 10:49
3 Lucrecia Ortiz ARG 11:00
4 Juana Paniagua PAR 11:18
5 Danitza Crisóstomo PER 11:30
Teams: ARG 5, PER 6, PAR, BRA 13