This week Mexico celebrated gold medal glory in the women's K4 at the 2022 Pan American Canoe Sprint Championships in Dartmouth, Canada. It came as no surprise after their eye-catching performance at the world championships last weekend.

Their celebrations rivalled those of all the Olympic and world champions basking in the glory of success at last week’s ICF Canoe Sprint titles in Dartmouth, Canada, but they weren’t even gold medalists.

The Mexican women’s K4 landed the show-stopping result of the week – storming to bronze in the women’s 500, and leaving in their wake crews from Hungary, Germany, New Zealand and Spain.

24 hours earlier the crew from Mexico City gave notice of their potential, impressively winning their K4 semi-final to join the six boats who had already qualified. Surely this was achievement enough for a crew who surely would have been happy just to make the final?

Well yes, they were happy to get to race for a medal. But what better way to sneak under the radar, racing in lane eight and with no medal expectations?

It worked a treat. Karina Alanis, Isabel Romero, Beatriz Briones and Maricela Montemayor made history for their country, taking bronze and etching their names into the record books.

“We’re amazed. It’s such an honour to represent our country, and to win a medal…” Romero said.

“We were just hoping to make the A final, but in a final anything can happen, so today was perfect for us, and we took advantage of that and we got a medal,” Alanis said.

The K4 had the perfect blend of experience and youthful exuberance. Briones and Romero are both U23 athletes, while Alanis and Montemayor have had have both raced at senior levels for at least five years.

Three of the team belong to the same Mexican canoe club, while Romero, at 19 the youngest member of the team, competes with a different club. But the four of them train together as part of the national squad.

“I wasn’t expecting this, but I know them and I trust them 100 per cent. We did great, we are so happy of course, and this is for Mexico and our families,” Briones said.

“We are a good crew. From the moment we got in the boat we felt this could be a strong boat,” Alanis said.

Adding to the significance of the win – the crew has a female coach for the first time.

“This is the first time that we have a female coaching us, so we are really happy and proud. We miss her because she is not here, but this is for her as well, Alanis said.

The quartet train in Mexico City, which is hard going because of atmospheric difficulties. But Alanis believes those same hurdles probably gave her team an edge over their rivals.

“It is a really hard course to train on because of the altitude, but it is good for the body and our lungs,” she said.

“We took advantage of that. Here we have a lot of oxygen to make a good final. I think the people can look on at what we did.”

Be guaranteed people certainly did look on. The Mexican K4 who sneaked under the radar last weekend and at the PanAms will find people paying a lot closer attention in the future.


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