Bogota, Aug 16: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos celebrated the gold-medal win by triple jumper Caterine Ibarguen at Moscow’s 2013 World Athletics Championships, the first ever by a Colombian at the worlds.
“Gold for Caterine that shines from Moscow at the World Athletics Championships! Historic for Colombia, what pride,” Santos said via Twitter, reports Xinhua.
Minutes later, Santos called up Ibarguen to express his appreciation for the joy she brought the Colombian people and to ask her to continue “reaping victories” with her country’s support.
Ibarguen, 29, won the gold medal in the triple jump earlier in the day with a record of 14.85 meters, farther than rivals Ekaterina Koneva of Russia (silver), who reached 14.81m, and the Ukrainian Olha Saladuha, who reached 14.65m (bronze).
Ibarguen’s grandmother, Ayola Rivas, watching the competition in the town of Apartado, in the northern department (state) of Antioquia, was filled with pride at her granddaughter’s historic achievement.
“I’m happy, like all Colombians. I am so proud of Caterine and all her efforts to become the world’s best and to bring joy to all the people who are keeping track of her in the country,” Rivas said.
Meanwhile, from Moscow’s Luzhniki Olympic Stadium, Ibarguen told Colombian media the gold medal gave her great satisfaction, but the goal for her and her coach was to achieve a better record.
“I hope to continue making them (Colombians) happy, I am very happy, this is what I have been working for, and it fills me with great satisfaction,” said Ibarguen.
“I could feel that the Colombians were with me despite the distance, and I will continue working to show the best side of our country,” she added.
Ibarguen made a special acknowledgment to her coach, the Cuban-born Ubaldo Duany.
“He’s like a father to me, he taught me that one has to dream, to have objectives … because everything is possible if we have clear goals,” Ibarguen said.
She also urged Colombia’s leaders to recognize the talent of national athletes and to support the younger generations, so they can make their dreams come true by representing the country through sports.
The lanky (1.80m tall) and lean (70 kg) Ibarguen won two gold medals at the 2012 Diamond League in Monaco and in Oslo in 2013, as well as a gold medal at the 2011 Guadalajara Pan-American Games, and a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.