THE CIRCUIT WAS CLOSED, NOW COMES THE MARATHON
The rain continued to do its thing throughout the department of Tolima, and on Friday it hit the Ibagué Municipal Sports Park circuit again, the scene of the World Speed Skating Championships.
The closing day had to wait until the weather calmed and the water drained on the asphalt to be able to release the final competitions of the return to the circuit, in the four categories, as well as the points test in older men, pending from the previous Wednesday, precisely because of the bad weather.
The rain played a fundamental role because it exploited the expertise of the runners, several of them rolled on the floor without being able to continue in the competition. Others, on the contrary, took advantage of the situation, such as the case of Kollin Castro, a Colombian runner, who knew how to overcome the moment and be at the head of the group in its junior final.
The podium was complemented by Helen Rivera, from Guatemala, who presented the first World Cup medal to her country, and Ruth Arza Gastón, from Spain.
In the men’s category, the situation was similar, very cautious, the center of gravity of the skaters was lower than usual, and the nerves were on the surface. The judges even had to review the official video on several occasions to determine the four finalist runners. The honor of being the world champion was won by italian Andrea Cremaschi, who had a clean and dominating race from start to finish. It was very close, defined only by the finish, Florian Bernard came in second place, leaving the third to American Gabriel Lyons.
In the senior ladies category, the development of the race was dominated by the world champion, Geiny Pájaro, who won her series, except for the semifinal, where she almost fell. She made a smart race and bet on the safety of her presentation. Already in the final, she showed her favoritism and took an important advantage by raising her arms and celebrating calmly in front of the Chilean María José Moya and the Ecuadorian María Loreto. In this final, there is a South American and a luxury podium.
The closing of the speed test, in charge of the senior men, had many emotions and nerves, as the power of several runners played a trick on them and, with the wet floor, they saw their chances of medals vanish. The calmest ones, who knew how to interpret the situation and the state of the circuit, were the ones who were rewarded. The Frenchman, Gwendal Le Pivert won the gold, the Italian, Duccio Marsili the silver, and the Chilean Ricardo Verdugo the bronze. The race was highly applauded by the public that filled the stands of the Municipal Sports Park of Ibagué.
On Wednesday, the one that opened the road circuit, the final of the points trial in the senior men’s category was pending due to the electrical storm that occurred that night. The race was very even and had Nolan Beddiaf, from France, as the main protagonist, who added 19 points to take the gold and leave a close fight for silver and bronze, where the Spanish Francisco “Pachi” Peula did the same with 11 points as the Colombian Manuel Saavedra, but the order of arrival gave the Iberian second place, leaving the bronze to the tricolore.
With the circuit closed, hard, demanding, and unpredictable, the entire Colombian team took to the track to celebrate a new world title in front of their fans, those who also take a gold medal for their compromise, for being present day after day supporting all skaters, regardless of their country of origin. Now for the marathons, the icing on the cake.