Algarvian rider João Vieira won the silver medal in the 50 km march of the World Athletics Championships in Doha (Qatar), while Ana Cabecinha, from the Oriental Pechão Club, was 9th in the 20 km march.
The Sporting athlete was born in Portimão but left the Algarve with his family when he was just two years old, later growing up in Rio Maior, where he still lives, with his wife and trainer, Vera Santos.
The rider achieved the best result of his career at age 43 at dawn on Sunday, supplanting the 2013 bronze medal (awarded after an opponent's disqualification for doping), and made him the oldest athlete ever to win medals. in Worlds.
Vieira made a backwards race, first preferring to adapt to the harsh weather conditions (very hot and humid) and then overtaking opponents until he reached 2nd place.
The Portuguese athlete finished his 11th World Cup appearance in 2nd place, with a mark of 4: 04.59 hours, 39 seconds from Japanese world champion Yusuke Suzuki.
“The medal is not due to miracles, but to the hard work of a great team, for its value, which gave me this great moment, which makes me very proud. This is a career medal, achieved with great tenacity and ambition, ”said Vieira, whose medal was presented to him by Sergey Bubka, one of the best athletes of all time.
Already this Sunday night, the march Ana Cabecinha, born in Alentejo but Algarvian by adoption, was ranked 9th, thus achieving the goal of the "top-10" revealed before the competition, after a season with many injuries.
The Oriental Pechon Club athlete was ranked 15th in the 10 kilometers, but climbed positions in the second half of the race, closing with a record of 1: 36.31 hours, 3.38 minutes from Chinese champion Hong Liu, who was crowned champion. worldwide.
The two hikers are already eyeing the Tokyo Olympics, which will take place within a year in Japan.