Published on March 8th, 2014 | by Daniel Boyle0
Double Victory for Colombia in BMX
Olympic champion Mariana Pajón did not disappoint, bring Colombia their first gold medal. Countryman and fellow Olympian Carlos Oquendo was victorious in the men’s BMX race.
A passionate crowd gave an extra touch to the atmosphere at the recently built BMX track in Parque Peñalolen. The park is being used as a second hub for the South American Games, with the new velodrome the jewel within the sporting infrastructure built for the sporting event.
Pajón used her victory in Medellin 2010 as a stepping stone towards Olympic gold, and had no problems defending her title. The Colombian finished almost two full seconds ahead of Maria Gabriela Díaz (Argentina), who was also on the podium in 2010. The Olympic champion finished the course in 36.934 seconds.
After winning the race, she rode back over the final bumps of the course, saluting the crowd, which contained a large Colombian presence. BMX was one of the events to be completely free of tickets and the grandstands were full of support for the riders from all countries.
While the crowd screamed “Mariana” before she posed for the now obligatory “selfie” with Colombian fans, Pajón highlighted the growth of BMX in South America. “The level of the riders has increased rapidly. It’s great to have tracks like this, of Olympic standard, here in South America,” the Red Bull rider said.
The best Chilean result was Belén Tapia, who finished seventh.
Oquendo, who took bronze in London, also highlighted the demanding track. It was a closer affair in the men’s time trial, with 0.084 seconds separating the Colombian from Brazil’s Renato Rezende.
BMX action will return to Peñalolen tomorrow at 11am, while the road cyclists will take on the time trial, with a course beginning at La Moneda before crossing over Cerro San Cristobál.
The growth of the sport of BMX racing in Colombia will come to a head in 2016, when Medellin hosts the BMX world championships.