Panamanian long jump Irving Saladino, gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, told Efe today that he trusts that the track and field athletes from Panama will go to the Central American Games and the Carribean Barranquilla 2018, will have a good performance and will climb the podium.
"In recent years athletics has made good performances, although we lack a great leadership that encourages athletes to continue training, but despite all that we hope that the athletes who compete in these games can shine, get their best record and be on the podium," he said.
Saladino said Panama will attend the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla 2018 with a significant representation (123 athletes) and with several objectives in the sports competition.
"As usual, Panama has a significant representation for the country; we hope the athletes can get their best results, can bring to Panama glories and record and others have a good experience," said the former athlete.
The Central American and Caribbean Games 2018 will take place from July 19 to August 3 in Barranquilla, Colombia.
On 10 years of the gold medal he won at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, which will be held on August 18, Saladino said he had plans to celebrate, but they will have to be postponed for personal reasons.
"I had great plans to celebrate 10 years of my Olympic medal, but many things have happened and I will not be able to fulfill what I had in mind. For those days I will not be in the country, but I will see what I do when I return," he said.
The athlete said he is still happy to win that historic medal and that day, on August 18, he will mention it on social networks.
"That gold medal is still a symbol for the country olympically," he said.
Saladino, beyond the triumph in the Bird's Nest pit in Beijing, in his heart and mind he keeps another moment in that 2008.
"Frankly, what remains in my memory at that moment was the reception of the Panamanian people. It was amazing, I will never forget it, because 10 years later, I watch the videos and they moves me. I will never forget it," he said.
The Olympic jumper took the opportunity to point out that he still has aspirations to be a leader of Panamanian athletics, but he has stopped his march in this period because he has other plans, including adding a university career to his resume.
"Now I am studying public administration. I wanted to improve my curriculum to present it to people. I’m interested in getting well prepared for the job, and not just because Irving Saladino is the Olympic medalist," he said.
He added he will always support the athletics board, as well as the athletes, even if he is not part of the leadership of the Panamanian Athletics Federation.
"I'm always there to support with all my heart, I'm one of those who want athletics to return to the magnitude it had in previous years," he said.