The PanAm Games are upon us, marking the culmination of the track and field season. However, this year, the Games in Santiago have a unique twist – many of the world’s top athletes are notably absent. While the absence of global stars might seem like a setback, it opens the door for other talented athletes to shine.
Traditional track and field powerhouses like the USA, Canada, and Jamaica have sent modest delegations to Santiago. This decision provides a golden opportunity for lesser-known athletes to make their mark and claim a place on the podium.
The United States, a formidable force in track and field, has fielded a small but promising team. In the women’s 100m, Kennedy Blackmon and Kortnei Johnson will represent the nation. Both athletes are making their major competition debuts, which adds an exciting element to the competition.
For Chris Royster, the lone representative in the men’s 100m event, the PanAm Games are a chance to showcase his talents. With a personal best of 10.02, he ranks 26th in North and Central America this year. Given the absence of some top competitors, Royster has a legitimate shot at medaling.
However, he faces stiff competition from Brazilian sprinters Felipe Bardi and Erik Cardoso, who have posted impressive times of 9.96 and 9.97, respectively, this year. Colombian sprinter Ronal Longa, who clocked 9.99 at the South American Championships, adds to the challenge.
The women’s 100m event is expected to be a tight contest, likely coming down to a showdown between Kennedy Blackmon, with a season-best time of 11.02, and Kortnei Johnson, not far behind at 11.05. The rest of the field includes strong contenders like Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye (11.16) and Brazil’s Vitoria Rosa (11.17).
As the PanAm Games kick off, the stage is set for these underdogs to make a name for themselves. With the absence of some of the world’s top athletes, these rising stars have a golden opportunity to seize the spotlight. The semi-finals and finals for the 100m events will be held on Monday and Tuesday, so stay tuned for the electrifying sprints that will determine this year’s champions.
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