Portugal won three gold medals in the European Indoor Track Championships. It was the country's best performance ever in a major athletics competition.
Auriol Dongmo won in the weight throw competition. In the triple jump competition, the Portuguese dominated: Pedro Pichardo won the male sector and Patrícia Mamona the female sector.
Portugal was the second country with the most gold medals in these Indoor Track Championships, only surpassed by the Netherlands, with four medals: Femke Bol in the 400 meters, Nadine Visser in the 60 meters hurdles, and men's and women's 4 × 400 meters relay.
In the all medals ranking, the national delegation got the ninth position with three medals (the same as Ukraine, Italy and Finland), behind Great Britain (12), Poland (10), Netherlands (7), Germany (6), Spain, Belgium (both with 5), Sweden and France (4).
With these results, Portugal got to 26 medals in European Indoor Track Championships. In Torun, Poland, the country had its best participation ever, not for the three gold medals alone, but for other milestones as well: not only did the Portuguese athletes matched the three medals won in Vienna in 2002, but this time all medals were gold, surpassing the two gold medals amassed in Stockholm, back in 1996. At the same time, Patrícia Mamona became the 7th national athlete with more than one medal in the competition, after having already won silver in Belgrade, in 2017.
Auriol Dongmo led the race from start to finish, except when runner-up Fanny Roos overtook her in the fifth and penultimate attempt. However, soon after, Dongmo achieved a 19.34 meters mark, which earned her the gold medal.
Pichardo was already the favourite in his race. The triple jumper made, in the first attempt, a mark that guaranteed at least a place in the final podium, with 17.30 meters. It ended up being more than enough for the victory, with a 26 cm advantage over the runner-up.
The women's podium, on the other hand, was much closer. Patrícia Mamona was one of the favourites and Portugal's hope for a third unprecedented gold, but not only was the race close but the athlete was infected with the new coronavirus just a month before the competition, with severe symptoms.
Patrícia started off with two good jumps in the first two attempts, taking the lead. But on the third jump, Neele Eckhardt overtook her with her personal record of 14.52 meters. The Portuguese athlete needed to respond in kind: in that same third attempt, Mamona managed to jump a centimetre more than the German: 14.53 meters, a personal and national record!
Clubs and training
Patrícia Mamona has been representing Sporting Clube de Portugal since 2011 and is coached by José Uva. Her training regime varies throughout the sporting season. During the pre-season, she may have two training sessions a day, up to a total of 11 weekly training sessions to improve her general fitness. At this time in the season, Mamona says she does a little bit of everything: running, weight training, jumping, abdominal training or joint reinforcement.
Auriol Dongmo arrived in Portugal in 2017 to represent Sporting, the result of a bold personal initiative in which he contacted Sporting Clube de Portugal through social networks, such was his desire to settle in the country. The Alvalade club received the athlete who, already in the course of the pandemic, was met with limitations to her training. However, as soon as the pandemic legislation allowed high-performance athletes to get back to training, the national record holder for weight throw restarted his preparation with her trainer, Paulo Reis.
Pedro Pichardo is an athlete at Sport Lisboa e Benfica and left Cuba in collision with the country and the national team. He came to Portugal in 2017 and, with the support of the club and a sponsor, he managed to get on with his outstanding career, dividing his training between Lisbon's University Stadium, the National Stadium at Jamor (where facilities for high-performance athletes are available), and the club's gym. Pichardo is trained by his father, Jorge Pichardo, and during this pandemic, he shared some exercises that he normally does at home to keep fit on social media.
A long history
Naide Gomes and Carlos Calado were the first national athletes to show that Portugal is not only about middle and long-distance runners, such as Fernanda Ribeiro, Rui Silva, Carla Sacramento or Sara Moreira. Francis Obikwelu had already introduced speed into gold medals conquering, and Nelson Évora started this new era that gave Portugal three new gold medals.
Francisco Belo, Carlos Nascimento, Mariana Machado and Samuel Barata also stood out in this same event with very good results, reinforcing the quality of Portugal's participation this year.
Two top athletes who chose Portugal
“We should be proud”, said Jorge Vieira, president of the Portuguese Athletics Federation, when athletes like Auriol Dongmo and Pedro Pichardo "choose to represent our country". Athletes of this level constitute a sporting and human enrichment. Auriol is of Cameroonian origin and Pichardo of Cuban origin, both naturalized Portuguese.
Vieira stressed that, if we look closely at these two athletes' life stories, they're examples of survival. "When these athletes come to our country and to our national team, they are seen as idols, as references, and as models".
15 gold medals:
- 2021 (Torun): Auriol Dongmo (weight), Pedro Pablo Pichardo (triple jump) and Patrícia Mamona (tripe jump)
- 2017 (Belgrade): Nelson Évora (triple jump)
- 2015 (Prague): Nelson Évora (triple jump)
- 2013 (Gothenburg): Sara Moreira (3 000 meters)
- 2011 (Paris): Francis Obikwelu (60 meters)
- 2009 (Turin): Rui Silva (1 500 meters)
- 2007 (Birmingham): Naide Gomes (long jump)
- 2005 (Madrid): Naide Gomes (long jump)
- 2002 (Vienna): Rui Silva (1 500 meters)
- 1998 (Valencia): Rui Silva (1 500 meters)
- 1996 (Stockholm): Carla Sacramento (1 500 meters) and Fernanda Ribeiro (3 000 meters)
- 1994 (Paris): Fernanda Ribeiro (3 000 meters)
9 silver medals:
- 2019 (Glasgow): Nelson Évora (triple jump)
- 2017 (Belgrade): Patrícia Mamona (triple jump)
- 2011 (Paris): Naide Gomes (long jump)
- 2009 (Turin): Sara Moreira (3 000 meters)
- 2002 (Vienna): Carla Sacramento (3 000 meters) and Naide Gomes (pentathlon)
- 2000 (Gent): Rui Silva (3 000 meters)
- 1998 (Valencia): Fernanda Ribeiro (3 000 meters) and Carlos Calado (long jump)
2 bronze medals
- 1994 (Paris): Carla Sacramento (800 meters)
- 1986 (Madrid): João Campos (3 000 meters)