Thursday, September 21, 2023

Spain ‘marches’ third in the medal table, but… is it reality?

Adri Ben’s magnificent fourth place in an 800m final is the best so far for the Spanish delegation at the National Athletics Center and makes Mohamed Katir Spain’s last hope of medaling at the National Athletics Centre.

Despite this, in the absence of the last day of competition Spain occupies a historic third place in the medal table thanks to the four golds of the march athletic (two for Álvaro Martín and two for María Pérez).

The march, that specialty that Sebastian Coe despised who lacked time yesterday to hold the ribbon upon the arrival of the Ethiopian Amane Berisho Shankule as the winner of the women’s marathon. In fact, she was second until she was surpassed by Canada this Saturday with golds from Marco Arop (800) and Pierce LePage (decathlon) plus silver from Sarah Mitton (weight).

With the most successful discipline in the history of Spanish athletics hanging by a thread due to the wishes of the International Olympic Committee with the connivance of World Athletics, the other reality is that Spain has only four medals in the last 12 years in World Cups outdoors, from the bronze of the Catalan Natalia Rodríguez in the 1,500 meters of Daegu’11.

A remarkable Fatima Diamé was sixth in length EFE

They were achieved by the head of the team delegation Ruth Beitia (silver in height in Moscow’13), the Spanish-Cuban Orlando Ortega (bronze in 110 hurdles in Doha’19), the Spanish-Moroccan Mohamed Katir (bronze in 1,500 in Eugene’22) and the absentee in the current event Asier Martínez (bronze in 110 hurdles in Eugene’22). The other two came in the march with Miguel Ángel López from Murcia in 20 km as the double protagonist (gold in Beijing’15 and silver in Moscow’13).

In view of these figures, two readings appear. From one side, the situation of the march does not allow turning in profile and it would be inconceivable anything that is not a firm defense of the specialty without ambiguity from the RFEA (Raúl Chapado has just been elected vice president of World Athletics). It is as if Norway does not defend cross-country skiing or biathlon. Or Canada ice hockey. Or Italy fencing it.

Ben was eight hundredths off bronze in the 800 EFE

The other is that Although Spain finishes third in the World Cup medal table, it is not the second best athletics on the planet. In fact, in the standings he drops to seventh place without forgetting that of his 48 points no more and no less than 36 come from the march (eight of each gold plus the four of Cristina Montesinos with her fifth position in 35 km). .

In the absence of Katir composing his best poetry in the 5,000 final against Ingebrigtsen and the ‘Ethiopian army’ with Aregawi, Kejelcha and Gebrhiwet, the track has provided sixth place for Fátima Diamé and the eighth of Tessy Ebosele in length, the sixth of Mario García Romo in 1,500 and the already mentioned fourth of Adri Ben in 800. That is the Spanish baggage on the track on the banks of the Danube.


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