Huge Welcome in Colombia for Olympic Medallists

Bogota, Aug 16 (IANS/EFE): Colombia gave a huge welcome to its eight athletes who won medals at the London Olympic Games.

The main streets of this capital were decorated with Colombian flags and people stopped their daily activities to cheer and applaud the athletes, who waved to the crowds from a fire engine and proudly displayed their medals.

President Juan Manuel Santos awaited the medallists accompanied by top representatives from the government and the Colombian sports world.

The athletes entered the square in front of the presidential palace, where they were received by resounding applause from those on hand and while a video played their medal-winning performances over and over on a large screen.

"What you did is a landmark that divides the history of sport in our country in two," Santos said.

Cyclist Mariana Pajon proudly displayed her gold medal in BMX, the second gold in Colombia's history, after the one won by Maria Isabel Urrutia in Sydney in 2000 in weightlifting.

Silver medalists Catherine Ibarguen (triple jump) and weightlifter Oscar Figueroa were also on hand, but Rigobeto Uran, who also won a silver in cycling was absent participating in the Tour of Spain.

Jackeline Renteria won a bronze in wrestling, along with Oscar Munoz in taekwondo, Yury Alvear in judo and Carlos Oquendo in BMX.

"We had hoped for, in our happiest thoughts, for four, five or even six medals, and you, with your talent and enthusiasm, surpassed all our calculations. Eight Olympic medals!" Santos said.

"Therefore, we've become an Olympic power in our region, occupying fourth place on the medal list of Latin America and the Caribbean, exceeded only by Cuba, Jamaica and Brazil," the president said.


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Title: Huge Welcome in Colombia for Olympic Medallists

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