Before leaving for Lima the competition goal for sport shooting it wasn’t to win the gold medal in the ten-meter airgun in both male and female teams. The truth is that nobody has shot from that distance like Jorge Grau from Guantanamo and Laina Pérez from Matanzas.
In fact, their duet in the mixed modality already looks frightening for their opponents.
Grau’s history deserves to be told in several chapters. It’s the living expression of equanimity. Meticulous to the bone he is considered a perfectionist of the technique and he isolates when engaged in competition as if he were in another galaxy.
This Sunday he finally succeeded after years of dedication, of reviewing sequences at the Polygon Enrique Borbonet, he let go of the position tenth (568-16X) in Toronto 2015; and position fourth (572-100.1) of Guadalajara 2011.
In Las Palmas, Grau advanced second to the finale (574-19X), breathigndown the neck of the North American Nickolaus Mowrer (575-20X) who would certainly be the first obstacle on his way to the glory.
He got his revenge in the definition and unnerved shot after shot was aiming at the medal, until after the 16th he climbed to the top. He lost the lead again in the 20, but his 237.3 points became a deep gap as a minimum difference for Mowrer (236.7). The bronze medal for the Brazilian Julio Antonio de Souza with 217.3 points.
Besides, Grau registered to the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020, he established a continental top and he already thinks of making a strong double with Laina in Japan.
Guillermo Pías, the other Cuban in competition, couldn’t win a ticket for the discussion of medals, and he ended in position 14 with 565-14X points.
Eglys became the top medal winner in the shot in these competitions (4-4-1). Picture: Mónica Ramírez, special correspondent.
Eglys: Legend of the Pan-American shot and aiming at Tokyo
Sometimes, when the horizon looks ideal to endorse a title, only a few tenth prevent us from that romance with the glory. Eglys Cruz is the kind of shooter who keeps her calm at all times. I remember her for her reaction when she won the bronze medal in the Olympic Games of Beijing 2008 in this modality of 50 meter rifle three positions. I go back in time and I remember her debut in Pan-American Games, in Santo Domingo 2003.
Now in Lima she was unfazed to the fact of losing her crown 454.2 against 454.9 to the North American Sarah Beard, regardless fighting to the very end. Neither the fact of becoming the greatest medal winner in the sport shot in the history of these competitions, raising her winning sheet to (4-4-1).
It was a true tiebreak that definition, speckled by successive escalades to the top and demonstrations of unquestionable power between both shooters.
Earlier, in the preliminary round, Eglys (1 151-52X) had ended seventh among the eight who advanced to the finale; Beard had passed second 1 165-61X; and the also Cuban Dianelys Pérez, winner of Guadalajara 2011 had passed third (1 165-59X).
But we have already said the discussion of medals is a horse of another color.
After 15 shots in the kneeling, prone and standing positions, Eglys fluctuated between the first and third places, while Dianelys oscillated between the seventh and fourth position, the latter was the definitive one, thanks to 430.8. The bronze medal went to the also North American Virginia Thrasher (444).
For Eglys Cruz, her performance was a personal record in key moments, and it was worth to assure a place in Tokyo 2020 next year, honor reserved for the two leaders among 24 registered shooters.
Eglys moved the U.S. shooter, Christina Schulse Ashcroft (0-4-4) who unfortunately could never win. Our unfazed and calm shooter still has two other choices in Las Palmas, in the modalities of air and mixed air. We will have to wait and see what "gunpowder” she has.