Ottawa. – Brazil’s Powerade Team became the first squad to arrive here for the 2nd Pan American Combined Events Cup, to be held this weekend at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility in Canada’s capital city.
Nineteen-year old athletes Kerindê Hilario de Souza Brites da Silva and Karen Maria Cerqueira Lopes will have their first international experience in an event that expects the participation of close to 60 athletes from 12 countries.
“Our goal is to prepare these athletes to make the Olympic standard in combined or individual events for Rio 2016 or the 2020 (Olympic) Games,” said team manager José Luiz Bello after the duo’s first training session on Monday.
“We would like to offer them here the opportunity to compete at a higher level. We believe it is very important in their evolution as athletes,” he added.
The Rio de Janeiro-based team are the only Brazilian representatives for the continental event.
Led by defending champions Jose A. Mendieta and Yorgelis Rodriguez, the 8-member Cuban squad is expected to arrive on Wednesday. The team also includes two-time Olympian Yordanis Garcia, who boasts the highest score among all registered decathletes with a personal best of 8496.
In the women’s event, 2012 World Junior champion Rodriguez will be joined by 2011 World Youth gold medallist Yusleidys Mendieta.
Canada’s hopes are centered on Jennifer Cotton and Ottawa Lions’ Patrick Arbour. Cotton aims to improve her bronze medal from 2012. Fifth a year ago, Arbour looks forward to bettering his performance after posting a personal best of 7593 in early April. The Ottawa Lions athlete was nominated to represent Canada at the World University Games in Kazan this summer.
Canadian Interuniversity indoor champion Rachael McIntosh is also registered.
The nine-member USA team is led Gray Horn, third at the 2012 National Championships with a personal best of 7954, and Aisha Adams (5861), who hopes for better luck after failing to finish her Heptathlon in Ottawa in 2012.
Athletes from Aruba, Belize, Costa Rica, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay and Puerto Rico are also expected to arrive over the next two days before the start of the competition on Saturday.
Victor Lopez, president of the Association of Pan American Athletics (APA), will arrive in Ottawa on Wednesday and will address the technical meeting on Friday.
Organized by APA, Athletics Canada and Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, the Pan American Combined Events Cup is viewed by many federations as a great opportunity to develop up and coming athletes in the current cycle leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.