Military Athletes Win Five Medals in London 2012
By Dialogo August 15, 2012
By standing on the podium on August 12, in London, to receive a bronze medal in the women’s modern pentathlon, 28-year-old Yane Marques, an athlete born in Pernambuco, brought to a close the best performance of the Brazilian Military athletes in the Olympic Games. All 51 athletes from the Brazilian Navy and Army won five medals – one gold and four bronze – during the competitions that took place in the British capital. If they were a nation, the military team would hold the 47th position in the medal rankings, ahead of countries like Venezuela, India, Belgium, and Finland.
Felipe Kitadai won the first Brazilian medal among military athletes during the first day of the judo competition. Born in Saõ Paulo, Kitadai won the bronze medal. That same day, July 28, Sarah Menezes, born in Piaui, won the gold medal in women’s judo. The Brazilian performance in judo produced two more bronze medals for military athletes, one for Mayra Aguiar, from Rio Grande do Sul, and the other for Rafael Silva, known as Baby.
In the final race of the Olympic Games, Army Sergeant Yane Marques ensured the expected medal. She is ranked third in the world. The Military servicemember won bronze, with 5,340 points. It was up to Yane – who won the first Brazilian medal in the modern pentathlon, a competition celebrating 100 years in the Olympics – to place the 17th Brazilian medal to be won in London around her neck. This is how the country concluded its participation in the 2012 Olympics.
The career of the first Brazilian medalist in the history of the modern pentathlon started to change approximately three years ago. In 2009, Yane was one of the first athletes to join the Army, which at the time planned on forming a strong team for the 2011 Military World Games in Rio.
As a sergeant in the Army, the athlete’s military training gave her the key elements needed to compete in a sport as rare as the pentathlon, which involves five events, recalls her coach, Alexandre França.
Before she started the competition, Yane Marques said, “Stepping on the podium will not be a surprise”. On August 11, after firing 15 shots and running 1.86 miles, she crossed the finish line, fell on the ground and yelled out, “I did it!”
Born in Afogados da Ingazeira, a municipality in Pernambuco, Yane now has an Olympic medal. She won the bronze medal with the best performance of her life in fencing; she achieved her best score in swimming; she excelled in the equestrian portion, even with an older horse; and she was able to maintain the necessary points in her weaker area: the combined event of running and shooting.
The Brazilian athlete began the combined event of shooting and running by sharing the lead with Lithuanian athlete Laura Asadauskaite, who won the gold. From this point on the challenge became greater, and just before the final task, coach Alexandre França determined that she was going for the third place. This led França to seek a strategy to ensure Yane earned a place on the podium.
At that moment, the Brazilian athlete had to improve her performance in the race, her weak point in the pentathlon. The plan was to pace herself during the first two laps of about 1,093 yards and to save her remaining breaths for the final lap. “She knew the last lap was a run for her life”, said França.
Army Major França was the person who convinced Yane to stop competing in swimming back in 2003, and dedicate herself to the modern pentathlon. Yane ran the “run of her life” in London. She lost the second place to British athlete Samantha Murray, but she secured the bronze.
At the end of the competition, Marques ran to the bleachers in the arena on Greenwich Park and tried to locate her mother, Maria Gorreti. Then, she delivered a speech where she showed confidence in her performance. “I was ready. This is the result of a job well done”, said the military athlete.
Yane Marques said farewell to London with a message: “I hope that this victory represents a turning point in the sport that will attract people’s attention”.
It is to highlight the important role that the Brazilian athletes had, but even more of those that in addition to representing the sport of the South giant, also represented the armed forces of their country, Brazil. Congratulations then to those gladiators of gold and bronze!!! Welcome to the Olympic Games of Brazil 2016!!!