Colombia dominates Bolivarian Games on home soil

Daniel Munoz and Sara Lopez of Colombia celebrate their compound mixed team gold at Valledupar 2022

Sara Lopez and Daniel Munoz each won three gold medals for Colombia as the host nation dominated the archery competitions at the 2022 Bolivarian Games in Valledupar, taking seven of the 10 available titles. Only Ecuador’s Lester Ortegon and Chile’s Javiera Andrades in the recurve events, as well as the Venezuelan recurve mixed team, prevented the clean sweep.

Lopez and Munoz won the compound mixed team title together, plus their respective team and individual events.

“It’s a great feeling to win at home,” said Lopez. “It means a lot to me. These Games give our sport more visibility and it helps the city to grow. Having the Bolivarian Games every four years, you see how the level of the other countries is growing.”

“Both of the finals for the gold in the compound individual were Colombia versus Colombia so that means we’re at a very good level right now.”

Lopez defeated two teammates on her way to individual gold.

First, Alejandra Usquiano fell in the semifinal (149-148) and then Maria Valentina Suarez was beaten in the final on a tiebreak (10-9) after she and Lopez finished tied at 147-147 in regulation. Munoz beat his teammate in the final, too – Jagdeep Singh Mejia, 148-146.

“I feel really happy for him, he’s been working really hard,” said Lopez about her mixed teammate, Munoz. 

“You can tell because his scores are getting higher and higher. We make a really good mixed team, we are really strong together. He always cares about others; is always trying to help with advice and technique, it’s really great to have him as a teammate.”

The individual and team golds in 2022 are the third successive Bolivarian Games in which Lopez has won them after taking the double (individual and team) in both 2013 and 2017.

Recurve mixed teams on the podium at Valledupar 2022

The Bolivarian Games is a regional multisport event featuring nations in South America impacted by the historical political figure of Simon Bolivar, including Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Additional countries, like Chile, have recently been added by the Bolivarian Sports Organisation.

Lopez said the Games provided the perfect test for a packed month ahead which includes both the World Games and stage four of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Medellin, Colombia.

“It wasn’t easy to win,” said the Colombian world number one, who said she suffered from heat stroke during the competition.

“It’s always a fight between Colombia and Venezuela in terms of who wins the Games, but there are more archers than the last edition of the Games that were four years ago in Santa Marta, also in Colombia.”

“We usually have around five countries in the games, but this year we had 11 countries as they invited other countries that are really strong in archery, such as El Salvador and Chile," added the reigning compound women’s World Archery Champion.

“The level is really strong and it’s growing a lot.”

The Bolivarian Games are an important source of national pride – as well as a significant competitive stepping stone for teams in the region. Lopez and her Colombian teammates missed stage three of the 2022 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Paris so they could focus on, and prepare for, the event in Valledupar.

“They mean a lot to us because the government invests in their infrastructure; they make buildings like pools and archery centres. They put a lot of money into these places for the city so that people in the city can go there and practise different sports,” explained Lopez.

“People from other countries are really excited to be at them. They can see how great the other countries are and how hard they have to work.”

“The Games show that Colombia is getting stronger in all the sports, especially in archery.”

Photos courtesy World Archery Colombia and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee.

Champions: Valledupar 2022

Medal table: Valledupar 2022

1. COL flag Colombia: 13 (7 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze)
2. VEN flag Venezuela: 4 (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)
3. CHI flag Chile: 3 (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
4. ECU flag Ecuador: 2 (1 gold, 1 bronze)
5. ESA flag El Salvador: 4 (3 silver, 1 bronze)
6. GUA flag Guatemala: 2 (1 silver, 1 bronze)
=7. PER flag Peru: 1 (1 bronze)
=7. DOM flag Dominican Republic: 1 (1 bronze)

Athletes representing eight countries collected 30 medals across 10 events in Valledupar.