Mexico won its first gold in swimming at the Pan American Games

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Athlete Athena Meneses gives Mexico the first gold medal in swimming at the 2022 Junior Pan American Games (Photo: Twitter / @COM_Mexico)
Athlete Athena Meneses gives Mexico the first gold medal in swimming at the 2022 Junior Pan American Games (Photo: Twitter / @COM_Mexico)

The competition of 200 meter backstroke swim started in the Junior Pan American Games 2021 Cali Valle, Colombia. During the competition, Mexico and Colombia were palm by palm for the entire competition. Heading for closure Athena Meneses, 16, won the competition and gave his country the first gold medal in swimming in this contest.

Since the race began, the Mexican and Colombian athletes have been in a joust to find out which of the two would win the highest medal. During the first hundred meters, the local Leguizamon Leal He managed to take advantage of up to a second and a half, however, heading to the closing, he lost his orientation and swam to one side, not straight. Meneses took advantage of this to pass and keep the tip until closing.

The podium was headed by Athena, who met the expectations entrusted to her and managed to get the Mexican national anthem to be sung in Colombian lands. The plant pendant was owned by the home competitor, while the bronze was distributed to the Brazilian De Goeli Null. The two hundred meter race became one of the most exciting of the night.

The Mexican Athena Meneses is one of Mexico's strong cards in swimming and points to Paris 2024. (Photo: EFE / José Méndez)
The Mexican Athena Meneses is one of Mexico’s strong cards in swimming and points to Paris 2024. (Photo: EFE / José Méndez)

Athenea has two competitions left, one in the 100-meter backstroke and another in the 100-meter butterfly, races where she will try to repeat the gold and confirm herself even more as one of the great promises of swimming in Mexico. Her youth makes her stand out from the rest, because at just 16 years of age, She is the youngest athlete in the Mexican delegation and one of the youngest of all the Junior Pan American Games.

Despite her young age, the swimmer has a family love story behind, which is the angular basis for today being one of the best in her field. Athenea began with swimming at a very young age, she trained in a club near her home, the sport quickly became her great passion and became something she will seek to do all her life. The problem arose when he entered high school, because he was left without a coach.

At that time a decisive moment arose, abandoning swimming or looking for a coach who was able to exploit their potential. She searched and searched, but when she was about to give up, her father chose to take the lead and be the one who would become her new coach. Even though that him Mr. Meneses was completely unaware of sport, his love for his daughter led him to become an enthusiastic researcher, staying up to learn swimming and waking up early to train his daughter.

Salvadoran Celina Márquez, in a file photograph.  EFE / Fernando Bizerra
Salvadoran Celina Márquez, in a file photograph. EFE / Fernando Bizerra

Thus, the young Athenea Meneses found a man capable of dedicating himself to her full time, her father. “I know that my family, my dad, will be with me through thick and thin. When we win, he says, we all win, when I lose, the same, we all lose ”, he commented in an interview with The universal.

In the same way, the athlete showed confidence in her since 2019, when she managed to overcome the qualifying times. “Many people believed that because of my age I was not going to make it, many spoke that the qualifying competitions were going to be my last chance and they were wrong. Today I start a long road in which I will go very far, I know”, He sentenced.

Today she began to fulfill her promise, when she became the rival to win in her first competition at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games. Her next commitments will also have to be under the public eye, because every time she jumps into the water there must be a medal sign.

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