Fabiana Murer of Brazil during the Pole Vault qualification (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Tunja to host South American Championships

The Colombian city of Tunja, capital of the Department of Boyacá, will host the 44th edition of the South American Championships, which will begin today, Friday 29 September at the track of the “Estadio de la Independencia” and will end on Sunday 1 October.

Its altitude of 2810m will play a major role in the sprinting and field events, and even though most of the athletes are at the end of a long season, good results are expected.

The focus for most of the athletes will also be in the 2007 season, which will bring the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, and the Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro.

This is perhaps one of the reasons why the South American Confederation (Consudatle) has decided to break the 2-year cycle that the Championships have had since 1975, and has now decided to contest the event every season.

Brazilian Control 

Brazil has dominated the region and its championships since the mid-70s. The “Verdeoro” team has won the men’s title consecutively since 1975 and the women’s since 1974.

This will be the sixth championships to be contested in Colombian soil. The previous 5 have been in Cali (1963, 2005), Bucaramanga (1979), Medellín (1989) and Bogotá (1999). Of all those championships, Brazil only lost the men’s team title in 1963 to Venezuela.

The Brazilian Confederation has designated 70 athletes to be its representatives in Tunja.

Murer will vault on Friday

The silver medallist at the recent IAAF World Cup in Athens, Fabiana Murer, shall be one of the main attractions and will compete this Friday. The 25-year-old Brazilian has set her goals on winning the continental title for the first time in her career and also on improving her own 4.66m record.

Other “veterans” such as Maurren Maggi (LJ) and Elisângela Adriano (SP, DT) will head a very strong Brazilian female team, mostly composed by those athletes who finished first and second at the past “Troféu Brasil”.

In its male team, Brazil will feature experienced athletes such as Sanderlei Parrela (400m) or Hudson de Souza (1500m), and youngsters like Rogério Bispo (LJ) and Luiz Alberto de Araújo (Decathlon). Missing will be triple-jumper Jadel Gregório.

Colombia, always a contender in the female division, has set high expectations on Bertha Sánchez (3000m St, 5000m, 10,000m), Caterine Ibargüen (HJ) and Zuleima Araméndiz (JT). Its male team’s main hopes are Paulo César Villar (110mh) and Gilmar Mayo (HJ), who will turn 37 on the same day than his event will be contested. Mayo is one of the best examples of longevity in South America. This year he has jumped 2.25m, while he set the Area record of 2.33m in 1994.

Argentina, always strong in field

Germán Chiaraviglio will have to dig deep in his reserves to win the only regional title that has eluded him. The 2006 IAAF World Junior Championships gold medalist in the Pole Vault has had a long season, and besides winning in Beijing, he finished third at the Athens World Cup. Brazilian Fábio Gomes da Silva (5.65m) will be the most dangerous threat for the 17-year-old, who has a personal best of 5.71m.

Besides Chiaraviglio, the Argentinean team always presents good throwers, and this time there’s no exception. Jorge Balliengo (DT), Juan Ignacio Cerra and Jennifer Dahlgren (both HT) will represent the other main winning cards for Argentina. All of them hold the Area record in their respective event.

Germán Lauro has also set a national record at the Shot (19.46m) in 2006, and will battle for that title with Chilean Marco Antonio Verni, the South American record holder with 21.14m (2004), who has thrown 20.07m this year.

Along with Verni, Chile will set hopes in the defending champion of the Decathlon, Jorge Naranjo, who is looking for an improvement to his own national record of 7489 points.

Saladino and Jefferson will be absent

Panamanian Irving Saladino and Ecuadorian Jefferson Pérez will both be absent in Tunja.

Saladino (8.56m in LJ in May, the top performance of 2006) is resting after a very successful season where he won the IAAF World Cup, the IAAF World Athletics Final and a share of the Golden League’s Jackpot. Panama will send 3 athletes to Colombia.

Pérez is also resting, and hasn’t competed after his second place at the 20km IAAF World Race Walking Cup of La Coruña. The Ecuadorian finished that race with an injury and later dedicated his time to finish a Masters in Business Administration. It is still not clear if he will return to competition at all.

Yet, Ecuador will send 29 athletes to Tunja. Among them are veteran distance runner Martha Tenorio and Hugo Chila, the 2006 IAAF World Junior Championships silver medalist in Triple Jump. Chila has just jumped an Ecuadorian record of 7.95m at the national championships in Quito.

Paraguay’s main hope will be Víctor Fatecha (4th at the 2006 IAAF World Junior Championships in the JT), Peru’s will be Louis Tristán (8.02m at LJ) and Uruguay’s shall be Heber Viera (100, 200m). Also absent (injured) will be 20-year-old Andrés Silva.

South American Championships records

100m 10.06A/0.9 André Domingos da Silva  BRA Bogotá ‘99
200m 20.44A Róbson da Silva BRA Medellín ‘89
400m 45.11 Sanderlei Parrela BRA Manaus ‘01
800m 1:46.16 José Luiz Barbosa BRA Manaus ‘95
1500m 3:36.47 Hudson de Souza BRA Manaus ‘01
5000m 13:51.66 Ronaldo da Costa BRA Manaus ‘95
10000m 28:37.2 Antonio Silio ARG Lima ‘93
3000m St 8:35.40 Wander Moura BRA Mar del Plata ‘97
110mh 13.45/1.5 Redelen dos Santos BRA Barquisimeto ‘03
400mh 48.63 Eronilde de Araújo BRA Manaus ‘95
HJ 2.26 Gilmar Mayo COL Mar del Plata ‘97
 2.26A Fabricio Romero BRA Bogotá ‘99
 2.26A Gilmar Mayo COL Bogotá ‘99
PV 5.40 Javier Benítez ARG Manaus ‘01
 5.40 Fábio Gomes da Silva BRA Cali ‘05
LJ 8.15/0,3 Erivaldo Vieira BRA Cali ‘05
TJ 17.21 Anísio Silva BRA Lima ‘93
SP 20.23 Marco Antonio Verni CHI Barquisimeto ‘03
DT 60.97 Jorge Balliengo ARG Cali ‘05
HT 73.95 Juan Ignacio Cerra ARG Manaus ‘01
JT 79.50 Luiz Fernando da Silva BRA Barquisimeto ‘03
Dec 7564 Édson Bindilatti BRA Manaus ‘01
 11.13/-0.6 6.96/-0.9 12.46 2.08 47.85 (4064) 15.18/0.0 37.94 4.60 44.24 4:28.37
4x100m 38.46A Brazil  Bogotá ‘99
 Raphael de Oliveira, Claudinei da Silva, Édson Ribeiro, André Domingos da Silva
4x400m 3:02.09A Brazil  Bogotá ‘99
 Eronilde de Araújo, Anderson Jorge dos Santos, Inácio Leão, Claudinei da Silva
20000m W 1:22:54.4 Jefferson Pérez ECU Cali ‘05

100m 11.17A/1.3 (h) Lucimar de Moura BRA Bogotá ‘99
 11.17A/0.3 (f) Lucimar de Moura BRA Bogotá ‘99
200m 22.60A/1.6 Lucimar de Moura BRA Bogotá ‘99
400m 51.56 Maria Magnólia Figuerêdo BRA Manaus ‘91
800m 2:00.04 Luciana Mendes BRA Manaus ‘01
1500m 4:17.54 Juliana de Azevedo BRA Barquisimeto ‘03
5000m 15:48.82 Stella Castro COL Mar del Plata ‘97
10000m 33:24.07 Stella Castro COL Mar del Plata ‘97
3000m St 10:25.90 Mónica Amboya ECU Barquisimeto ‘03
100mh 12.71/0.1 Maurren Maggi BRA Manaus ‘01
400mh 56.86 Lucimar Teodoro BRA Barquisimeto ‘03
HJ 1.93 Caterine Ibargüen COL Cali ‘05
PV 4.30A Alejandra García ARG Bogotá ‘99
LJ 7.26A/1.8 Maurren Maggi BRA Bogotá ‘99
TJ 13.91/1.3 Andrea Ávila ARG Lima ‘93
SP 19.02A Elisângela Adriano BRA Bogotá ‘99
DT 60.27A Elisângela Adriano BRA Bogotá ‘99
HT 65.05 Jennifer Dahlgren ARG Cali ‘05
JT 58.81A Sabina Moya COL Bogotá ‘99
Hep 5741A Euzinete Reis BRA Bogotá ‘99
 13.97/0,0 1,72 12,47 24.40/1,9 (3497) 6,09/-0,4 41,32 2:31.49
4x100m 43.17 Colombia  Cali ‘05
 Norma González, Darlenys Obregón, Felipa Palacios, Melisa Murillo
4x400m 3:28.64 Brazil  Barquisimeto ‘03
 Maria Laura Almirão, Josiane Tito, Lucimar Teodoro, Geisa Coutinho
20000m W 1:39:27.0A Miriam Ramón ECU Bogotá 99