September 22, 2009

Irving Saladino

   He was born on January 23th, 1983 in the province of Colon, Panama. Despite the fact that he grew up in a province known for its danger and poverty, Irving Saladino began his passion in sports participating in 1,500 meters races, instilled by his brother David. After a short time, he decided to leave the competition because the track was far away from his home and because other personal factors.
   When he turned 13, a professor convinced him to return to training. So Irving Saladino started his career taking Ivan Pedroso as a role model. At this time, Ivan Pedroso was a Cuban athlete who began achieving world success in long jump.
   He participated in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, where he failed to qualify for the finals, primarily due to an injury suffered during training.
   His leap to fame was in 2006 when he won the silver medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Moscow with a jump of 8.29 meters, only 1 cm of distance away from the winner, Ignisious Gaisah from Ghana.
   In the European Athletics Circuit, he has won five of the six tests that make up the Golden League. He won in Oslo, Rome, Zurich, Brussels and Berlin, as he was 2nd in Paris, just after Ignisious Gaisah, who had already defeated in the indoor world championship.
   In the 2007 World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, Saladino makes history by achieving the gold medal with a jump of 8.57 meters.
   On May 24th, 2008, during the meeting in Hengelo (Netherlands) Irving jumped up to 8.73 meters breaking his own record and getting the seventh best long jump in history.
   On August 18th, 2008 in 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, Irving Saladino won the gold medal in long jump. He made a jump of 8.34 meters, surpassing South African Khotso Mokoena (8.24 meters) and Cuban Ibrahim Camejo (8.20 meters).
   It´s the first Panamanian athlete who has won an Olimpic gold medal, and the second Olympic medalist from Panama. He’s also the first Central American male athlete who has won a gold medal in the Olimpic Games.

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