Galician is spoken in Tokyo: how Ana Peleteiro and Adrián Ben have triumphed at the Games

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Ana Peleteiro and Adrián Ben

Vermouth time was running out this Sunday in Spain when two Galician athletes were ready to make history on the other side of the world, at the Tokyo Olympics.

Minutes before 2 p.m. Adrian Ben he got into the 800m Olympic final after a comeback and a final sprint that lifted everyone off the couch. When Spanish sport was still savoring its success, Ana Peleteiro He was flying to achieve bronze in the triple jump.

The first, a native of Viveiro (Lugo), experienced a final test full of obstacles. After being in the tail for most of the race, saving his strength for the final attack, he struck out on the last straight. He left the corner locked in by his rivals, but gritted his teeth and managed to avoid them in a sprint that is now the history of Spanish athletics.

In the end he made 1m 44.30s to finish fourth in his series. A time that takes him to unexplored territory in our sport: he has become the first Spaniard to enter an Olympic final of the 800 meters.

“I was left behind, I was locked up and then I had to suffer zigzagging to enter,” said the young Galician who next Wednesday, when he disputes the final, will be 23 years old. The best self-gift possible.

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Adrián Ben at the Olympics.

But the Olympic stadium in Tokyo was going to be the scene of another feat. Peleteiro, almost at the same time as Ben, managed to get on the podium with the bronze that he won in the triple jump. The athlete from Ribeira (A Coruña) had to beat the Spanish record twice to achieve it.

First he was 14.77, four centimeters better than the record he had achieved in Glasgow two years ago. She did not celebrate it, she remained serious, concentrating on the fact that her only objective was to hang herself with bronze, the only metal available after the almost inhuman exhibitions of the Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas (15.41m and Olympic record) and the Portuguese Patricia Mamona (15.01m) .

When it looked like she had it, Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts emerged, jumping 14.84m. Peleteiro needed to surpass his own record again and improve the season mark by 23 centimeters. But she is not the one from years ago, she is a new athlete with a winning mentality typical of the greatest. He ran, heeled perfectly and managed to jump 14.87m. Bronze around the neck. It was done.

In Ribeira, Juan Manuel Oliveira, president and coach of the local athletics club, lived it with emotion: “I thought I could do it. I am very optimistic and believed that I could achieve it ”.

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Ana Peleteiro, during a jump in the Olympic Games.

Far from showing any kind of surprise at the fact that he beat the Spanish record twice. “If you look at it, historically whenever he competes he jumps a little more, in big events he manages to give a little more,” he says.

Isidoro Hornillos, president of the Galician Athletics Federation, is also not surprised by Peleteiro’s achievement: “We knew that his competitive capacity is enormous and that he was capable of overcoming the tension and uncertainty that exists in the event. We were aware that he was going to do very well, that he had to be close to 15 to get a medal and that he was going to do it ”.

He also praises Ben that demanding him motivates him and makes him be even better. “He had been a finalist in the Doha World Championships, had shown his competitiveness at the international level and had been in great shape with a recent mark of 1.44.12 … He had given clues that he was in perfect form,” he sums up. Hornillos, who highlights that “he had cold blood, a lot of serenity and made a wonderful career reading.”

For Wednesday, he dreams that Viveiro’s man can give “one last joy”, although he quickly clarifies that “regardless of what he does in the final, it is already a source of pride and satisfaction.”

“I see it on television and it’s the same”

In recent days, many opinions have been written and read on social networks about the naturalness of Peleteiro. Everyone has highlighted the character he has, his attitude and the charisma that he gives off.

Oliveira, who met Ana as a child when she enrolled in athletics, describes her as saying that off the track she is “the same” as when she is seen on television. “It’s just that she is like that, she doesn’t hide anything,” she goes on to say.

“She has always been a very good girl, very outgoing, very hooligan, a Bart Simpson so to speak,” says the club’s coach, who remembers that from an early age she was seen as special.

“If I hadn’t done a triple jump, it would have been in length, in speed. Whatever you want, all these explosive evidence masters them. You cannot think at the age of seven that it is going to get to this, but as you see that it progresses and burns stages, you start to think about it ”, points out Oliveira.

Hornillos also highlights the personality that Peleteiro and Ben have: “They are born leaders with a very solid mentality. Also, they are great people. For me that they are great athletes and that they are accompanied by human values ​​gives much more social value to their successes ”.

Referents for the little ones

Peleteiro, when he is at home, goes to train at the athletics fields of Ribeira, as its president says. There she coincides with the little ones, who see her as the mirror to look at. The same goes for Ben in Viveiro.

In addition, Galicia has had a third representative in Tokyo, the Mugardes Belén Toimil. The shot putter was only five centimeters from another final, which would have meant a full Galician athletics.

Had it succeeded, the region would have equaled the same Olympic finals in athletics throughout its history in the same Olympiad. “Until now there had only been three Galician athletes in the finals of the Games and we had never won a medal, now we have two finals and, for now, a medal,” explains Hornillos, who participated in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

In Galicia everyone talks about Peleteiro, Ben and Toimil. Hornillos cannot hide the smile that accompanies him: “The mimicry effect that they are transferring to a society is gigantic. It is very important for the future of any sport. Having leaders like them is great for any discipline. As president of the Galician Athletics Federation I am very happy ”.

“The final of the 800 will be very close because there is a very high level and in the triple jump there are Yulimar and Patricia, exceeding 15 meters, having them there is to be very, very proud,” adds the president.

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