Peruvian athletes dominated at the 34th edition of the South American Cross Country Championships at the “Parque de Samanes” in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Saturday (23). The event qualified the senior and U20 champions to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019 on 30 March.
Peru’s José Luis Rojas took the victory in the 10 km men’s race in 32:22. The 26-year-old Rojas, who has 13:38.6 at 5000m and 29:16.2 at 10,000m on the track, adds this honour to the 5000m Ibero-American title he won at Trujillo in 2018. Rojas beat the Brazilian trio of Jhonatas Cruz (32:32), Gilberto Lopes (33:07) and André Ramos de Souza (33:20).
“It was a hard course, mostly because of the sharp turns. I am very pleased with the victory and I am very happy to qualify for the World Championships,” Rojas said. “Now I will prepare for that event at Huancayo, at 3200 of altitude. This is a very important season, as we are heading to the Pan-American Games, which will be held in Lima.”
The hosts enjoyed Silvia Patricia Ortiz’s victory in the women’s race. The 26-year-old surprised with her victory in 37:24, beating Peruvians Gladys Tejeda (37:52) and Nélida Sulca (38:09). Ortiz, with a modest precedent of 36:33.0 at 10,000m at the 2018 national championships, produced the biggest upset of the warm and humid day as temperatures reached 28 degrees Celsius with humidity topping 80 per cent.
Sánchez and Campos win the U20 races
Colombian Jagannatha Sánchez and Peruvian Liz Campos won the U20 events. Sánchez took the 8 km race in 27:23, ahead of Ecuadorian Daniel Taramuel (27:45) and Peruvian Frank Luján (27:58).
Campos triumphed in the 6 km race in 24:10, beating Colombian Alejandra Sierra by four seconds. Chilean Laura Acuña completed the podium with 24:28.
The U18 races saw two more Peruvian victories, coming through Guido Bustamante and Jhenyfer Melchor. Bustamante covered the 6 km in 20:38, ahead of Brazilian Henrique de Oliveira (20:46) and Tiago Fernandes (21:03).
Melchor, niece of Inés Melchor, the South American Marathon record holder, obtained the victory at the 4 km race in 15:21. The podium was completed by Colombian Subhadra Sánchez (15:38) and Brazilian Gabriela Tardivo (15:52).
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF