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Guatemala celebrates historic maiden medal

(Xinhua)

09:58, August 06, 2012

GUATEMALA, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Guatemala Sunday celebrated its first ever medal in the history of the Olympic Games, thanks to Erick Barrondo's second-place win Saturday in the men's 20km walk competition at London 2012.

Newspapers, radio and television broadcasts led with Barrondo's silver medal, marking the first time Guatemala has won a medal of any kind since it began participating in the games in 1952 at Helsinki.

"Historic", "Worth Gold" and "Barrondo makes history" were just a few of the front-page headlines celebrating the event in Sunday newspapers and magazines.

"The Greatest Day in Guatemalan Sports" blared the sports section of the daily Prensa Libre, above an article that said "Guatemalan sports will have a before and after Erick Barrondo, who this Saturday achieved a spectacular feat."

The Guatemalan sports hero finished the walking race in 1:18:57, just nine seconds behind the winner, China's Chen Ding (1:18.46), and a full 28 seconds ahead of third-placed Wang Zhen (1:19.25), also from China.

Guatemalan media also heaped praise on Barrondo's Cuban trainer Rigoberto Medina, saying he was key in winning the medal and had previously helped the athlete win gold at the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The daily Siglo 21, or 21st Century, dedicated the first three pages of its Sunday edition to Barrondo, who was born June 14, 1991 in the poor village of Chiyuc, near the city of San Cristobal Verapaz, where he currently resides.

The paper highlighted Barrondo's humble origins, saying despite economic difficulties, he was nevertheless able to go on to compete on the world stage at an Olympic event.

"San Cristobal Verapaz yesterday decreed itself to be permanently

celebrating due to the young athlete's victory," said the local El Periodico newspaper under the headline "The country celebrates Barrondo's win."

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina also congratulated the athlete for his win, the paper said.

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