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10 Panamanians in Rio Olympics. Panama has barely four million inhabitants, but ten Panamanian athletes have managed to qualify for the Rio di Janeiro Olympics that will take place from Friday 5 to Sunday, August 21 in that city. They will compete in seven disciplines: athletics, boxing, fencing, gymnastics, swimming, taekwondo and shooting.
The athlete runners who qualified directly are the sprinter, Alonso Edward, who specializes in 100 and 200 meters and recently came second in the Diamond League, after the Jamaican, Usain Bolt, who is considered the fastest man alive and Yvette Lewis, the U.S.-born track and field athlete who competes for Panama in the 100 meter hurdles and the triple jump.
The marathon runner, Jorge Castelblanco, is the first Panamanian who will participate in a marathon. He is a former policeman, who gave up his career in the force to fulfill his dream of taking part in the Olympics.
In the taekwondo corner is Carolena Carstens representing Panama. She has dual US / Panamanian citizenship through her father and mother respectively. Carstens was the youngest taekwondo athlete at the 2012 Olympics.
Eileen Grench, the fencer, will try to bring a medal, in what could be her last Olympics. Lance corporal, Atheyna Bylon, from Panama’s police force, who won the gold medal at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in South Korea in November 2014, also has dreams of winning the gold at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. The swimmers, Edgar Crespo and Maria Fernanda Far are part of the Panamanian delegation. Currently they are training in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States.
David Muñoz will participate in the 50 meters shooting competition. He is originally from Cuba and adopted Panamanian nationality three years ago. Isabella Amado Medrano is the last member of this select group. She is an artistic gymnast and competed at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Nanning, China.
There are high expectations for the Panamanian team in Rio, especially in boxing and athletics, where the Panamanian competitors are well ranked.