Nine more Chileans have secured their places at the 2012 London Olympic Games, following strong performances at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Among the athletes to have confirmed their place at the biggest sporting event on the planet is 18-year-old Esteban Bustos, who took out the bronze medal in the modern pentathlon in Guadalajara, with an overall score of 5.656.
The young Chilean performed strongly but was edged out by Mexican Oscar Soto (gold) and Guatemala’s Andrei Gheorghe (silver).
“I didn’t expect to get the bronze medal at all,” he told La Tercera. “It was a great surprise – I classified for the Olympic Games and I was the best South American in my discipline.
“I feel thankful to God and very happy. Now I will have to work on my preparation for the Olympics with my coach Gerardo Cortés, who always believed that we would reach this big achievement and bring home a medal. He was right. Now, I will have to train hard.”
The other athletes who have officially qualified for the London games on the back of strong performances in Guadalajara are discus thrower Karen Gallardo, skeet shooter Francisca Crovetto, long-distance swimmer Kristel Köbrich, marathon runner Érika Olivera, speed-walkers Edward Araya and Yerko Araya, archer Denisse Van Lamoen and shot putter Natalia Duco.
Fellow marathon runner Natalia Romero has a strong chance of joining Olivera in London but she will need to improve on her recent times.
The Chilean athlete posted a time of 2hr.37.06 at the Santiago Marathon in April, but since Olivera has already qualified, Romero now needs to post an ‘A’ Time Standard, or sub 2hr.37.00, to guarantee her place in London.
Chile has over 300 athletes participating at the Guadalajara games, which run until October 30, and it is expected that several more will post strong results over the rest of the tournament.
Hopes are particularly high for triatholon world champion Bárbara Riveros (triathlon), who has already qualified for the games in London, following a gold medal performance at the world championships in Switzerland two months ago.