The Bolivarian Games of Valledupar 2022 lost this Friday, perhaps, the most important figure of the jousts. Olympic medalist Anthony Zambrano, silver medal in 400 meters at Tokyo 2020, decided not to participate in this edition. But that decision could have consequences.
The announcement of his resignation from participating in the games was given a day after Zambrano made a statement in Cali, where he was ambassador for the 2022 U-20 World Championships in Athletics, which will take place in that city.
Zambrano's complaint before the Bolivarians
Zambrano questioned his participation on Thursday, but he also touched on some economic issues. “It is not an obligation to compete, because they have screwed me in other competitions, right here, so why do I have to go to that? I'm not decided, I'm looking to see what I can do”, said Zambrano.
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The athlete acknowledged that he has differences with some leaders. “It makes certain people sad here… It's economics. There is never support, there is never anything… Nobody manipulates me, I am in charge because I am the one who runs, one is the one who is on the track, to earn a pittance”, Zambrano recounted.
EL TIEMPO learned from a first-hand source that the Colombian Olympic Committee is studying the possibility of punishing him: he would have to revalidate his results in the Olympic cycle, and if he does not, he would lose the status of supported athlete.
However, the Colombian Olympic Committee denied that the problem is economic. The entity revealed that Zambrano receives 7 million pesos a month for being part of the Excellence Athletes, plus another 4.5 million contributed by Inder del Atlántico.
His personal trainer earns 16 million monthly thanks to an agreement with the Ministry of Sport. In addition, it was reported that all his preparation expenses abroad are covered (tickets and accommodation, rental stipends if applicable, among other issues).
The official version of the Colombian Athletics Federation is that Zambrano dropped out of the competition due to physical problems.
“The athlete Anthony Zambrano will not participate in the Bolivarian Games since he has a problem in the right adductor since his participation in the meeting in Salamanca, Spain, on June 4 of this year. In the event, Zambrano participated as part of the pedagogical test to evaluate his special preparation, ”says the statement sent by the Federation to the media.
“The athlete has had interruptions in his training process, as we have all been aware of,” the document adds.
What the directors do recognize is that Zambrano is indeed injured. The athlete himself, in the contact he had with the press on Thursday, acknowledged that he had pubalgia, but that he had already competed in those conditions.
Sources from the Colombian Athletics Federation consulted by EL TIEMPO spoke that, in addition, Zambrano has a hamstring problem, and that this has affected his performance in recent weeks. In fact, the athlete's own coach, Nelson Gutiérrez, asked that they not take it into account.
“He ran in Spain with a very regular mark, above 46 seconds. And he seeks to be a finalist, which is not easy. The technical issue is a way to protect it. In Bolivarianos we are going to have a Dominican, Luguelín Santos, who has run 45:06. That an Olympic medalist does not win in Bolivarianos…”, admitted the source.
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It should be remembered that when Zambrano won the silver medal at Tokyo 2020, his mark was 44:06 seconds, only surpassed by Steven Gardiner, from the Bahamas, the gold with a time of 43:85.
The World Cup, in Zambrano's sights
Zambrano's goal now is to recover from his problems to participate in the World Championships in Athletics that will take place in Eugene (Oregon, United States), from July 15 to 24.
The qualifying tests will be on July 17, at 9:05 in the morning in Colombia. The semifinals will take place on the 20th, at 5:15 in the afternoon, and the medals will be distributed on the 22nd, after 5:35 in the afternoon. The goal is for Zambrano to regain a competitive level to qualify among the top eight.
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