BOLIVIA MAKES HISTORY WITH FIRST PAN AMERICAN GOLD MEDAL AT LIMA 2019
Its racquetball team defeated Colombia in the final and, for the first time, climbed to the highest place of the Pan American Games podium. A remarkable sports achievement.
In Bolivia, there are close to 200 racquetball courts and a similar number of young athletes who practice the sport, with a high competition level. However, despite being one of the powers in the continent, Bolivia had yet to accomplish a resounding achievement. Lima 2019 is the beginning of something great for the Bolivian sport, as this is the first Pan American Games gold medal in Bolivia’s history.
The men’s racquetball team made up of Conrrado Moscoso and brothers Roland and Carlos Keller defeated Colombia in a series that started during the day and finished at night at the Callao Regional Sports Village. In the morning, Moscoso defeated Sebastián Franco 2-0; however, Mario Mercado evened the score by defeating Carlos Keller 2-1.
The doubles event was the defining match, which was dominated, from start to finish, by Bolivia. The victory with a score of 15-11 and 15-2 brought the athletes to tears and caused them to unleash their suppressed excitement after the defeat, a couple of days ago, in the doubles final where they faced Mexico.
“I was completely exhausted after a very long day, but happy, because we won the gold medal that we lost in Toronto and in the doubles event here at Lima 2019, too. But our effort was really worth it. Bolivia deserved the gold medal,” pointed out flag bearer Conrrado Moscoso.
Bolivia has won five medals at the Pan American Games, four of them in racquetball. The gold medal won tonight, joins the silver medal won in men’s doubles and the bronze medals won in singles, as well as the one won yesterday by the women’s team. Felipe Mercado has been the coach of the Bolivian national team since 10 years ago, and he gave some information regarding this phenomenon.
“In Bolivia, racquetball is a mass sport, from children to adults, although there is a financial limitation to support athletes during an Olympic cycle. This often complicates the growth of the sport, despite having a good development hub in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sucre and Cochabamba. Either way, every story of self-improvement of these athletes, who have come to Lima 2019, is admirable,” said the coach.
For the first time in its history, Bolivia climbed to the highest place in the podium. Lima 2019 will be an unforgettable memory for the neighboring country.