19th Pan American Games: Oliver (MEX) and Hernandez (MEX) celebrate gold as 10 athletes secure Olympic quotas
- Double gold and silver for prolific Mexican team in Santiago (CHI)
- Bronze medallists Hernandez (EAI) and Torres (ECU) celebrate Paris 2024 boost
- Olympic joy shared by USA, Brazil, Cuba and Argentina athletes
Mayan Oliver and Emiliano Hernandez of Mexico became Pan American Games champions on a day when 10 pentathletes from across the Americas won direct qualification quota places at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Oliver (MEX) led a family one-two in the Women’s Final, joined on the podium by her silver medallist sister Catherine Mayran Oliver (MEX) and by bronze medallist Sophia Hernandez, representing the International Athletes Team (EAI).
With a maximum of one Paris 2024 quota place per nation per gender, there was also joy for athletes from United States, Brazil and Ecuador. The following athletes clinched the five available spots in the Women’s Final:
- Mayan Oliver (MEX) – gold
- Sophia Hernandez (EAI) – bronze
- Jessica Davis (USA) – 4th
- Isabela Abreu (BRA) – 9th
- Sol Naranjo (ECU) – 10th
The Men’s Final also finished with gold and silver for the Americas’ most prolific nation, as Mexico celebrated victory for UIPM 2023 Pentathlon World Championships silver medallist Hernandez (MEX) – who tied the overall world record of 1,534 points on the way to the title – and a strong silver for Paris 2024 quota recipient Duilio Carrillo (MEX).
They were joined on the podium by Andres Torres (ECU), while Cuba, Argentina and EAI athletes also achieved the Olympic dream.
The following athletes clinched the five available Paris 2024 quota places in the Men’s Final:
- Duilio Carrillo (MEX) – silver
- Andres Torres (ECU) – bronze
- Marcos Rojas (CUB) – 4th
- Franco Serrano (ARG) – 5th
- Andres Fernandez (EAI) – 6th
Almost two-thirds (44) of the 72 places in Modern Pentathlon at Paris 2024 have now been allocated, with most of the remainder up for grabs at the UIPM 2024 Pentathlon World Championships in Zhengzhou (CHN) and via the UIPM Olympic World Ranking List.
Click here for a full explanation of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Modern Pentathlon qualification process.
Women’s gold medallist Mayan Oliver (MEX) said: “I'm very happy, I've worked a lot this year with my coaches, my family and my friends and with the organisations who have been supporting me. So I'm happy to get this first place.
“It's very cool, really. I got a quota [for the last Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020] but via the Olympic ranking, and this time I have it a year before. This time I have more time to prepare to get a better place at the Olympic Games.
“First, I will get some rest but I will think about the next steps and the next goals to improve my 15th place that I got [in Tokyo].”
Asked what she had enjoyed about the competition in Santiago (CHI), she added: “First, that I am surrounded by my coaches. Then, that I am with a very important person for me: my sister. Of course she's my sister but she is also a rival. It's complicated but I'm really happy that she was here too and got a good place.”
Men’s gold medallist Hernandez (MEX) said: “It’s wonderful – the truth is that it's a dream being able to live as an athlete and I'm really proud of my team.
“I've qualified twice so the plan is to qualify a third time! I want to keep getting good results and arrive strong in Paris. Holidays and then start over. Nothing is done yet. Feet on the ground and look for the medal.
“The organisation has been incredible, it's a world class competition. Let's hope that they [Chile] get motivated to organise World Cups and international events soon.”
NORCECA 2023 Championships gold medallist Sophia Hernandez (EAI) led the way in Fencing with 23V/9D in the Ranking Round and four additional points in the Bonus Round, winning the last bout against 2nd-ranked Tamara Vega (MEX, 22V/10D).
Hernandez (EAI) stayed in front after scoring 293 in Riding, although Mayan Oliver (MEX) and Kelly Fitzsimmons of Canada applied some pressure with clean rounds.
Swimming saw the hint of a comeback from defending champion Mariana Arceo (MEX, 2:22.16) and compatriot Tamara Vega (MEX, 2:23.32) but Hernandez (EAI) continued to be competitive and took an overall lead of 11sec into Laser Run.
Starting 27sec and 28sec off the lead, the two Olivers (MEX) powered through the Laser Run to claim the top two spots on the podium, with Mayan Oliver (MEX) timing a fantastic 11:21.30 to win by 16sec.
Hernandez (EAI) was a comfortable bronze medallist ahead of fellow Paris 2024 qualifier Davis (USA), with South Americans Abreu (BRA) and Naranjo (ECU) finishing in the top 10 to also claim quota places.
Carrillo (MEX) had the edge in Fencing, scoring 25V/5D in the Ranking Round, albeit Serrano (ARG) added the four available bonus points after scoring a competitive 23V/7D. Marcos Rojas of Cuba also performed well with 22V/8D, while Sergio Villamayor (ARG) added eight bonus points.
Carrillo (MEX) held his nerve and maintained a strong lead after an almost perfect 298 in Riding, and when Serrano (ARG) dropped 22 penalty points, other challengers emerged with Hernandez (MEX) and Torres (ECU) both scoring a clean 300.
In Swimming the gap was reduced further, with Hernandez (MEX) and Torres (ECU) recording two of the four fastest times, slower only than Rojas (CUB) and top swimmer Andres Fernandez (EAI) in 2:05.99.
Starting 17sec ahead, Carrillo (MEX) could do nothing to repel his compatriot Hernandez (MEX), who has become one of the world’s top finishers, but he comfortably held off the rest of the field to secure silver, leaving an intriguing battle for bronze and the other Olympic quota places.
It was Torres (ECU) who deservedly made the podium having started almost neck and neck with 4th-placed Rojas (CUB) and 5th-placed Serrano (ARG), and all three were able to stop dreaming of Paris 2024 and start planning, along with Fernandez (EAI) after a sprint finish victory over Brendan Anderson (USA) and Juan Ochoa (EAI).
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “We are so happy to see how athletes have prepared for the Pan American Games here in Santiago de Chile, and what an exciting moment with so many spectators cheering for all athletes regardless of their nationality, creating the best atmosphere we have seen in a big competition this season.
“The exciting moment is always the Laser Run at the end but we have seen strong performances throughout from athletes who now know that they have secured a place for their countries at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. We have to say a big thanks to the organisers and to the National Federation of Chile and both the South American and NORCECA Confederations for all they have done to promote and develop our sport to show a level here at the Pan American Games higher than ever before.
“The Mexicans dominated the competition across women and men but it’s great to see athletes from five different countries on both sides qualifying for Paris 2024, which makes this a global success story and now we look forward to the Mixed Relay competition in two days.”