Thu, Aug 08, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Leap gets isle first Pan Am medal

AP, LIMA

Chantel Malone of the British Virgin Islands competes in the Pan American Games women’s long jump in Lima, Peru, on Tuesday.

Photo: AP

It was a giant leap: Chantel Malone on Tuesday won the women’s long jump and the first-ever Pan American Games medal for the British Virgin Islands.

“And it’s a gold medal, not just any medal,” Malone said. “Winning gold is like me putting my name up there, putting my country up there, just to let them know that we’re here. We’re small, but we’re powerful.”

The British Virgin Islands is a top sailing destination, home to a thriving financial and tourism sector, and its blue waters and ocean breezes draw tourists from across the world, but the Caribbean island is still recovering from hurricanes Irma and Maria, which caused widespread devastation in 2017.

“We’ve gone through a lot recently with the hurricanes and everything, so to come out and win gold is extremely awesome,” said Malone, who won with her first jump in the Peruvian capital of Lima, leaping out to 6.68m, an unrivaled mark.

“I’m happy that I was able to secure it on my first jump,” she said. “I was like: ‘Let’s go — one mission and that’s it: to get gold.’”

Not only did she get gold, but she beat some of the strongest jumpers in the world. They included Colombia’s Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen, who was favored to win the title in Lima after she took the triple jump gold in Toronto 2015 and long jump bronze in Guadalajara 2011.

Ibarguen, who had a swollen foot, placed fifth. Keturah Orji of the US won silver and Jamaica’s Tissanna Hickling earned bronze.

“I knew there were girls out there jumping really well,” Malone said. “But I just went out and focused on myself and did what I had to do.”

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