Associated Press3 Minute Reading
SANTIAGO, Chile — Peru’s Kimberly García believes she has set the world record in the women’s 20-kilometer walk race at the Pan American Games. He later found out that he didn’t.
The organizers said in a statement that the race times were canceled due to “a measurement problem” at Santiago’s O’Higgins Park. They blamed the Association of Pan American Athletics for that mistake.
The athletes believed that the distance they walked in Chile was about 3 kilometers shorter.
The mistake added to Santiago’s misfortune in organizing the Pan American Games, which began on October 20 and ended on Nov.
García finished his race on a cold and wet morning in 1 hour, 12 minutes, 26 seconds. The record belongs to China’s Jiayu Yang (1:23:49).
Another eleven competitors seem to have finished their race under the world record.
“We controlled our pace very well, and out of the gate, on our first lap, we said the pace was too fast. “We knew something was going to be weird, so our goal was not even considering the time.”
The Pan American Games organization said it filled its role by hiring Marcelo Ithurralde, an expert commissioned by the association, to make measurements for the race.
“He did not take accurate measurements of the route that the athletes took during the race,” said the organizers. “We deeply regret the inconvenience to the athletes, their coaches, the public and the attending press, but this situation cannot be attributed to the Organizing Committee.”
The Association of Pan American Athletics did not respond to a request for comment.
Later, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the executive director of the games, told local radio that it was a shame but insisted that the organizers had nothing to do with it.
“It’s a shame because the race was beautiful and obviously the Peruvian athlete should have raised his hopes for a world record,” he said. “I was told that they will correct this. If not, double the shame.”
The mistake delayed the men’s competition by an hour. Race walking requires competitors to always have at least one foot on the ground.
The 30-year-old Garcia was still celebrating his gold medal after what he called a “serious mistake” that he had never experienced in his decorated career, which included a world championship in the 20-kilometer race.
“We realized it from the first kilometer. The time did not match the distance. It was more about us focusing on our emotions without losing control,” he said after the race. “It doesn’t affect me alone, I want the Pan American record. Other women want a spot in the Olympic Games.
Problems with the organization of the Pan American Games include garbage scattered outside the competition areas for four days after the opening ceremony, threats of a strike from the private security company working on the events and a drop in the handball area of Viña del Mar, outside of Santiago.
The leak interrupted Saturday’s women’s handball match between Chile and Brazil. The Brazilians won 30-10 and will play in the final against Argentina. Santiago Games organizers said in another statement that the leaks were not their fault either.
“In the evening and this morning, there were repairs on the roof of the gymnasium to prevent water from leaking onto the court,” the organizers said in a statement, adding that “[we] does not take any responsibility regarding the poor quality and the ceiling issues of the venue.”
Organizers blamed the city of Viña del Mar for the problems.