Colombian athlete Flor Denis Ruiz has made a surprise impact at the 2023 Athletics World Championship in Budapest. She secured the runner-up position in the javelin event with a remarkable throw distance of 65.47 meters. This achievement earned her the silver medal, marking the first-ever medal for Colombia in this event.
A 32-year-old athlete from Valle del Cauca, Ruiz was ranked ninth in the global rankings. However, she led the competition and her achieved position seemed inadequate for her. Nevertheless, she managed to set a new South American record. In the final series, Japanese athlete Haruka Kitaguchi surpassed Ruiz’s mark with a throw of 66.73 meters, clinching the gold medal.
Direct Qualification for the 2024 Olympics
Flor Denis Ruiz’s success went beyond the championship, as her performance met the qualifying standard for entry into the selected group of participants in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“I like gold, but I feel good because this is my personal best. I am incredibly thankful. I don’t have words,” said the Colombian athlete while speaking to the press shortly after winning the silver medal.
Ruiz had just returned to the athletics track after recovering from injuries in both legs, and it didn’t seem like she was in her best sporting shape. However, her performance in the championship demonstrated that Flor Denis Ruiz was aiming for medals right from the start. For most of the competition, she held the top position and was only surpassed by one competitor in the final event.
The Colombian athlete expressed her happiness and satisfaction with the outcome, attributing it to years of hard work. “This result tells me that I am a warrior,” Ruiz affirmed while celebrating her triumph on the tracks of Budapest.
The other Colombian representative in the final, María Lucelly Murillo, secured the 11th position with a distance of 54.85 meters.
Ninth Medal in Athletics World Championships
Flor Denis Ruiz’s silver medal represents the ninth medal for Colombia in Athletics World Championships. The first one was earned by race walker Luis Fernando López, who won gold in the 20-kilometer event (South Korea, 2011).
A special mention goes to Catherine Ibargüen, responsible for more than half of the country’s medal successes until now. The athlete from Antioquia has accumulated a total of 5 medals: two golds (Moscow, 2023 and Beijing, 2015), one silver (London, 2017), and two bronzes (Daegu, 2011 and Doha, 2019).
Completing Colombia’s nine medals, Eider Arévalo secured gold in the race walk (London, 2017), and Anthony Zambrano claimed silver in the 400 meters (Doha, 2019).