For two weeks, Lima will become the sports capital of America. Not a few of the continent's best athletes will compete in the Panamerican Games, an event that is approaching its first 70 years of history. In total 41 countries and more than 6600 athletes will participate in 39 modalities. Which will be the most recognized stars that will fight for the title in the Peruvian city?
Mijaín López, the Cuban ebony giant
The wrestler of the Greco-Roman style Mijaín López will be the most successful athlete who will participate in the Lima Games. At 36 years old, Lopez has a very wide track record in which three consecutive Olympic titles and five world crowns appear.
Mijaín made his debut at the Pan-American Games in Santo Domingo, in 2003, where he beat American Rulon Gardener in the final; then, in Rio de Janeiro 2007, he surpassed in the fight for the gold to another norteño, Dremiel Byers. In Guadalajara 2011 he walked the distance and no rival could score a point, as it happened in Toronto 2015, where he left without options in the final duel to the Chilean Andrés Ayub.
This legend of the Pan-American sport will be, for the fourth consecutive time, the flag bearer of Cuba at the opening ceremony of the Games.
Caterine Ibargüen, the queen of the triple jump in the world
The Colombian Caterine Ibargüen is considered one of the best triplists in the world. In his rich history appears the Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and the silver medal in the summer appointment of London 2012; In addition, he has conquered two world crowns, in Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015.
Ibargüen was in the Panamerican Games of Guadalajara 2011 and there he climbed twice on the podium: he won the triple jump with 14.92 meters and was third in the long jump. Four years later, in Toronto, he set a record for the Games, stretching to 15.09 meters. In 2018, Ibargüen was selected by the International Association of Athletics Federations as the most outstanding athlete of the year. In Lima, the Colombian will look for her third consecutive Pan-American crown, although she will surely receive a strong opposition from the current world champion: Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas.
Yulimar Rojas, Venezuela's main hope
The duel between Ibargüen and Rojas promises to be the most interesting to be lived in the athletics stadium of the National Sports Village, the main center of competition for the Pan-American Games.
These two formidable jumpers began the rivalry at the Olympic Games in Rio, where the Colombian triumphed. Then, in the World of London, in 2017, Yulimar was better by two centimeters and climbed to the top of the podium. In 2018, the Venezuelan was ratified at the top of the specialty, to conquer the world title on indoor track.
In Lima we will have another chapter of the personal duel and, a few weeks later, both will meet again at the World Cup in Qatar.
Javier Conte, the standard-bearer of Argentina
At 43, the sailor Javier Conté will be the flag bearer of Argentina at the opening ceremony. Conte won the bronze medal in the class 470 of the Olympic Games of Sydney 2000 and won the title in the Pan American of Toronto, in the lightning modality, next to Nicolás Fracchia and María Salerno.
In Lima, Conte will also compete in the lightning and will share the boat with Ignacio Giamonna and Salerno.
Paola Longoria, unbeatable on the court
Paola Longoria has been the best racquetball player in the world for more than five years. In the Panamerican Games the Mexican has not had rivals and already accumulates six titles in the six competitions in which she has intervened. The domain started in Guadalajara 2011, where he won the individual tournament, the doubles (along with Samantha Salas) and the team competition. Then, in Toronto, Longoria was the standard-bearer of his delegation and on the court was unbeatable. In the Canadian city he returned to join with Salas and repeated the successes in the three modalities.
For the appointment in Lima, Longoria aspires again to climb to the top of the podium three times. You'll make it?
Read ALL the article in PanamericanWorld