Tuesday, October 19

The surreal participation of the Honduran Zarco in the Olympic marathon


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The Honduran Athlete Ivan Zarco was the last to reach the finish line of the marathon, almost 36 minutes after the winner Eliud Kipchoge, and has received the ovation of those present, who have rewarded their effort to close the Sapporo test. So far one more story of effort to achieve the dream of completing the Olympic marathon. But the story of Zarco is not that he completed it, but how it was possible that he could have run.

The surreal story begins at the Dresden marathon in March this year. Zarco, a Barcelona athlete who was nationalized from Honduras in 2020, asks Camilo Santiago that he plays a hare in Germany to ensure the Olympic presence, after doing 1.04.08 in a half marathon. Santiago, from Molina de Segura but settled in Albelda de Iregua (La Rioja) is an athlete with a history of personal improvement behind him, of an amateur footballer who one fine day decided to dedicate himself to athletics at the age of 29 and who in 2020 came to do 2.09.56 in Valencia.

The problem begins when the plantar fasciitis that Zarco is dragging prevents him from running the marathon, so it turns out that it will be Santiago who does the marathon with the Honduran’s number. This is the case and the number 450 crosses the finish line at 2.17.46. What Honduras He does not have any marathoners with a minimum, that result opened the door for Zarco to be present in Japan.

When the website ‘soycorredor.es’ discovers what has happened, the story becomes more complicated. The Spaniard alleges that the organization already knew the number change and that it had given its approval, and that in the final lists it would appear that it was he who had reached the finish line. Santiago justified the change in that they stole his bag with the racing clothes and the number just half an hour before the race. «Perhaps my mistake was to finish the marathon and I should have stopped earlier, perhaps. Maybe my mistake was running with another number, maybe. Perhaps my mistake was being naive, perhaps, but those of you who know me know that there is no bad intention in all this. And simply the illusion of being able to compete and after the trip and so on, I didn’t think about the consequences, I just put on his clothes and number, “he reflected later.

But the organization dismantled the version of Santiago assuring that it had no record of what happened and that it would never allow an exchange of numbers, so the Spanish Federation He did not accept his explanations and sentenced him to two years for identity theft, a punishment that the marathoner described as “disproportionate and unfair.”

On the other hand, nothing happened to Zarco, and most surprisingly, Santiago’s record was counted as a Honduras record, which almost definitively opened the doors of his presence at the Games. Something that was confirmed when the president of the Honduran Federation called him to assure him of his presence, since the other two athletes with the possibility of receiving an invitation for other distances had problems. The only one available was Iván Zarco, who competed this morning in the Olympic marathon in Sapporo and he came last with 2.44.36, 27 minutes from the Honduras record that appears in the ranking with his name and made with the legs of Camilo Santiago, the number 450 of the Dresden marathon.

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