The Catalan was left with a bronze after the failure of the organization. The president of the Athletics Federation has apologized to María Vicente.
Rarely has something similar been seen in a high-level championship like that of Spain. Maybe never. But, after all, María Vicente has ended up as a victim. The Catalan athlete wanted to take gold in the national championship with a long jump that brought her closer to her personal best. However, those in charge of cleaning the pit erased her footprint before measuring it and, therefore, eliminated Vicente’s jump.
The pentathlon champion arrived with very good feelings and eager to win the great medal. Her main rival, Fatima Diame, was not going to make it easy for her. But what nobody expected is that such a controversy would occur due to an error in the organization itself. Vicente went to make the first jump of her. And she pushed hard. Long stride and a good jump. Everything indicated, at first glance, that she had exceeded 6.50 – her record for hers is at 6.55-. But nobody could verify it. Her jump was null because those in charge of measuring each jump erased her mark, thinking it was invalid.
“There is no explanation. The judge who was there has told me that she has seen it valid, that she has raised a white flag. But, in the pit, I do not understand how or when or why they have understood that it was null and they have erased it”, he confessed to public television and in tears shortly after what happened. The tension was remarkable, both on the part of the athlete and her coach, stunned in the stands.
María Vicente was already completely touched in the final. With that first jump canceled, she jumped to 6.24 and shortly after to a lousy 4.83. The athlete was completely upset by that initial controversy. Her rival, meanwhile, met with sobriety and in her best jump she went to 6.51. Brand that would serve to take the gold, although not as she expected.
“She came with the intention of doing her best. She has skipped me a little from the competition. I’m not like that because of the medal, I expected a lot from the championship,” explained María Vicente on RTVE. “A bit of anger at the first attempt that they erased me. I have not been able to cope with that disgust and it has been possible for me to fail a bit in the face of the last jumps.”
Apology from the Federation
Raúl Chapado, president of the Athletics Federation, was forced to apologize for the controversy generated. The leader assumed that a serious mistake had been made and sent a message for the future.
“As president I want to apologize to María and her coach. It is a mistake that has a very high cost. It could be giving her the national title and record of Spain under 23. Everything that conditions in a first jump,” he stressed.
“From here to apologize because it is the responsibility of the organization to make the best possible championship. And, on the other hand, since we are all human and we make mistakes, we have to work so that these things do not happen and the organization improves so that it does not return. to happen because I understand the frustration.