The closing of 2018 left in Panama an air of happiness with the arrival of the Central American “red” soccer team to the World Cup of in Russia, for the gold medals added by the Central Americans in the regional competition, the return of basketball in the country, and the baseball step at an international level.
But it was not only festivities and medals in Panama, because the year, which ends next Monday, leaves open wounds on the issues of sports corruption in the country and the crisis in boxing.
And now, the 10 sporting events to be highlighted in Panama:
1. World Cup.
It was exciting to see how the Central American “Red” in the World Cup of Russia 2018 made Panama, a nation of about 4 million inhabitants, live a dream story after the historic qualification obtained on October 10, 2017.
The World Cup day came: On June 18, 2018, the Panamanians measured against Belgium with the adverse result 3-0, which was not important because the sensations of the Panamanian people who went to Russia were happy.
The effervescence never went down. Against the English teams, on the 24th of that same month, the overwhelming 6-1 defeat left an emotion: the veteran Panamanian defender Felipe Baloy scored the first goal of Panama in a World Cup.
The closing of the World Cup for the Panamanians had a dramatic tone when they maintained a 1-0 match against Tunisia but in the end, the Africans won 2-1. Panama finished in the last place in the tournament.
2. In the local football, CAI and Tauro reigned
The Independent Athletic Club (CAI), a team recently promoted to the principle Panamanian division, took the honors in the “Clausura” 2018 when defeating 1-0 Tauro FC during the first half of Panamanian football. The Tauro, in the 2018 “Apertura”, got even with Costa del Este, a team that played his first semester in the Panamanian first division, when defeating it 1-2 and crowned in the final.
3. Golden Cochabamba, Barranquilla and Buenos Aires
In the South American Games, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Alonso Edward, and Atheyna Bylon won the gold medals, in the 100 meters and women's boxing, respectively.
Panama had a golden year in Barranquilla (Colombia), with the golds of swimmer Edgar Crespo and the judokas Kristine Jimenez and Myriam Roper.
Rider Marrisa Thompson, in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, added the first Panamanian medal in this competition.
4. The return of basketball.
Although Panamanian basketball was out of the way to the World Cup, this sport that was thought dead this year competed in the World Cup qualifiers, showing the world that Panama returns to the arena of basketball. In the hands of the Spaniard Manuel Hussein, the Panamanians sailed to the last window with possibilities of getting into,
that could have been their fifth World Cup.
5. Universitario is the new owner of Panamanian basketball.
The Professional League of Basketball of Panama (LPB) fulfilled its fourth season, with the new national champion this year the University club. The university students, who will represent Panama in the FIBA Americas League next February, cut a series of three Columbus Roadrunners championships.
6. Panamanian boxing is wrong.
The sport of snub noses and cauliflower ears closed this 2018 almost unnoticed, without champions of the world, establishing that there is a crisis in the discipline that has given the country the most joy.
Its maximum figure, Roberto "Stone Hands" Duran made clear that the lack of incentives to the boxers and promoters have this sport on the rack.
"The decrease in the work of local promoters such as Rogelio Espiño has contributed that the activity in the country has fallen through," said the World boxing legend.
7. Minors stand up for baseball.
The minor categories stood up for baseball this year. Precisely the Little League of Vacamonte won the Latin American tournament and won their place in the World Series of Williamsport, in the United States
8. Two finals and zero championship
The U-15 national team, which finished in second place after going out against the United States in the Baseball World Cup organized by the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WSBC) on the ground Panamanian.
In the final of the under 18 tournament, also held in Panama, the homeowners lost again to the Americans.
9. Only five major leagues accumulated Panama this 2018.
Only with five players as members of the Major League clubs had Panama this 2018.
At the beginning of the campaign, only Johan Camargo with the Atlanta Braves started the season, on the way pitchers like Jaime Barria, with the Angels of Los Angeles and Ariel Jurado with the Texas Rangers joined the group. The last players to arrive this year at the big show were Javier Guerra, with the San Diego Padres, and Edmundo Sosa, with the San Luis Cardinals. Sosa was the Panamanian number 62 in reaching the Big Leagues.
10. End of year full of corruption.
2018 closed with scandals for alleged irregularities in the management of the funds of the Panamanian Sports Institute (Pandeportes) impacting the performance of athletes in the country.
The controversy showed out as a result of publications of the local press according to which the mishandling of several million dollars assigned between 2014 and 2017 to federations of several disciplines by their directors, who are at the same time deputies or officials of the Parliament.
These acts of corruption led athletes from the country to take to the streets to demand a purge in the different federations involved in the problem.
The former forward of the Panama team Blas Perez made it clear that "when an athlete goes out on the street it's because he's tired of what's happening."
"This has to change, I do not see why these irregularities have to happen in the handling of the funds for the athletes," he said.