Athletics

Published on March 30th, 2014 | by John Lyons

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Double gold delight for Valenzuela

Cristián Valenzuela was Chile´s banker for gold in the Juegos Parasuramericanos – and he didn´t disappoint.

Santiago – The 30-year-old won the 1,500m in the T11 category on Friday and returned to take centre-stage in the 5,000m at the Estadio Nacional on Saturday.

The visually-impaired runner – and his guide – led from the start and it was easy to see why Valenzuela had won gold in this event at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012.

Colombia´s William Sosa tried to stick with him, but wasn´t able to maintain the same pace and gradually slipped back. By now, Valenzuela was really motoring and it wasn´t long before he was regularly lapping his compatriots Luis Gutiérrez and Carlos Calixto.

The bumper crowd supported all the athletes, but saved their biggest cheers for when Valenzuela appeared. He received a great ovation as he approached the finish line and crossed in 16mins 10.06secs to take the gold.

The two-time world marathon winner finished well clear of the gallant Sosa (16.56.72) and Gutiérrez (20.36.73), who took silver and bronze respectively.

Afterwards, a delighted Valenzuela, draped in the Chilean flag, said: “The support of the public was very important because it gives you the encouragement to keep going and to reach the finish.”

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