The marcher Ana Cabecinha did not hide today the “explosion of joy” that she felt when she cut the goal, in Olhão, as national champion of the 20 km march on the road and with qualification mark for her fourth Olympic Games.
“It was difficult because, last year, I took the tests all over the qualifying mark. I was six seconds, 10 seconds, 12 seconds and it all started to mess with my head. So today was an explosion of joy to be able to make the qualifying mark again, ”said the athlete from Clube Oriental de Pechão, 36, after the race.
The athlete from Santiago Maior, in the district of Beja, but who has been living in Olhão for decades, had to manage her emotions at the beginning of the race, since she competed at home and had not competed in the distance for over a year.
“The last time had been at the Doha Worlds (Qatar), in September 2019! The most complicated was managing the emotional part. I wavered a lot, I was also excited and ended up paying the bill at the end ”, he pointed out, although he finished below the Olympic minimums in 1: 30.18 hours.
There was no better way to end a “troubled” year, recalled Ana Cabecinha, national champion for the seventh time.
“It was good to get the minimums now and be rested” for the Tokyo (Japan) event, which was postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. “I can already, mentally, be calmer. From the moment I am stable, I know that I can get many better results, better tests and better marks ”, he added.
After adding 8th place in Beijing'2008, 9th place in London'2012 and 6th place in Rio de Janeiro'2016, the athlete points the sights to one more place in the “top-10”.
“I wanted to end my career in Tokyo, but with Paris2024 three years away, if I remain a finalist and in the top 10, I will consider being still in Paris in 2024 and ending five Olympic Games. Let's go step by step: first, wait for the pandemic to let us train and compete, make better marks and arrive in Tokyo in the best possible way, where everything will be decided, ”he concluded.
The Algarve Carolina Costa, who represents Sporting, was ranked 3rd, while Edna Barros gave up.
In men, the Algarve João Vieira, born in Portimão but settled in Rio Maior for decades – and already qualified for Tokyo in the 50 km march -, achieved in Olhão, at the age of 44, his 57th absolute national title when he became sacred national champion of the 20 km march.