XVI Pan American Games Summary
A Duplicated Session; Mexico happy with bronze
At the very first session of weightlifting at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games, three countries sent extra man-power to the platform in order to achieve a most wanted first victory. Colombia and El Salvador sent two entries leaving only Cuba with just one competitor. And of course, host country Mexico also tried the duplicate system in order to increase their chances of victory. But when your only man on board is the experienced Sergio Alvarez, you can almost predict the outcome at the 56kg category. Colombian Sergio Armando Rada gained a one kilo advantage in snatch (120kg) over Alvarez (119kg) with his colleague Francisco Mosquera close behind with 117kg. In Alvarez’s specialty, a 148kg jerk assured his gold medal with a total of 267kg, while Rada lagged behind with 146kg earning the silver medal in total. Although Mexican Julio Lino Montes lifted 150kg in his second attempt at the clean & jerk, he was more than happy with a bronze medal over Francisco Mosquera (COL) who reached fourth place by bodyweight. Seven athletes participated in this category, including veteran competitor from ESA, Marvin Lopez.
Puerto Rico: First gold ever in Pan Am Games
The usual battle expected in this category was clear from the start. Venezuela featured the runner-up at the Rio 2007 Pan Am Games, Betsy Rivas. Colombia brought lightweight Katherine Mercado to try to separate themselves from the rest of the contestants in this category. The snatch rendered a predictable outcome with Mercado taking the lead over Rivas by bodyweight (both had their best snatch at 73kg). In third place, Lely Burgos, PUR, stayed almost out of contention with a humble 71kg. As there are no medals for individual lifts, we certainly must take these results to the next part and add them up. Showing great consistency, Mercado and Rivas opened with 90kg and 92kg respectively, while Burgos struggled to do 90kg in her first C&J. Mercado and Rivas continued to separate themselves from the group, but while Mercado missed 94kg in her third attempt, Rivas felt confident that with her 96kg third attempt the gold medal would be hers. But little did she imagine that Lely Burgos asked for a 99kg third attempt that, as she did with her previous attempt at 95kg, lifted brilliantly to obtain the first ever gold medal for PUR in these XVI Pan Am Games. Her total of 170kg stays far from the record still in hands of Tara Nott (USA, 177kg), but it brings great pride to this small Caribbean Island.
Figueroa and Salazar: a persistent sight at the podium
They have traveled the world together, always in the same category, always stepping up the medal podium. The only thing that separates them is the position at the dais that may change just slightly. Diego Salazar and teammate Oscar Figueroa cannot be separated as conjoined twins in the field of weightlifting. Once again they served as virtual rivals in the 62kg category at the Guadalajara 2011 CODE Paradero weightlifting venue. Just to intervene in the usual one-two knockout punch that this Colombian duo usually delivers, came in Jesus Lopez, from Venezuela, to gain a well deserved silver medal.
By David Arroyo Pan American correspondent
Check out the Results of the Pan American Games here