Like the palm trees that are so common in Paraguay, Javelin thrower Víctor Fatecha has naturally emerged as the country’s finest athlete to watch for the future, and for the next 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships in Marrakesh.
The 17 year-old from Concepción, a city located at some 240 kilometres north of the capital Asunción, is clearly the best talent to come out in the last 20 years, following the steps of fellow throwers Ramón Jiménez Gaona (Discus), Nery Kennedy and Edgar Baumann (Javelin), who all studied in the USA and had successful careers.
We could perfectly say that Paraguay has its best at the throwing pits, and that statement would not be far from the truth.
Five of the last seven Olympians in athletics from Paraguay, out of the last 4 Olympic Games, have been throwers, and the only South American records to be held by “Guaraní” athletes have been in the Discus and in the Javelin.
Jiménez Gaona had the DT top mark for more than a decade with a fine 64.30m performance that was recently improved by Argentina’s Jorge Balliengo.
Kennedy briefly held the Area record for the JT with 81.28m (1998), and Baumann had 4 records, also in the JT, with the latest of 84.70m from 1999, which is still standing.
Fatecha comes right after that generation, but seems to be destined to reach higher goals, as he emerges as the top Youth Javelin thrower in the 2005 World Lists with a 76.26m performance (700 grams implement) that situates him in the Pole Position for Marrakesh.
The final steps of his preparation have been completed in São Paulo, where, advised by the experienced coach João Paulo Alves da Cunha, Fatecha has been able to improve his technique and gain confidence to face the toughest test, so far, in his athletics life.
“Víctor was able to better his technique a lot during his stay in Brazil with us, training in São Caetano do Sul”, said Alves da Cunha.
“We were able to polish a lot of his technical weaknesses, and we were able to get very far, in the brief time he was with us”.
Alves da Cunha has already built a World Youth Champion, Júlio César Miranda de Oliveira, who won in Sherbrooke with an 81.16m toss. Therefore, he is very familiar with this kind of talent, and knows how to handle it.
“I believe Víctor can reach 78 metres, because he is prepared for that.”
“I see the same potential that I saw in Júlio César, but according to me, he needs to be in a more competitive environment, surrounded by the right materials and support, because when you reach a certain level, you just need that to keep improving”, says Alves da Cunha.
Fatecha has already had some tough moments in his young career, and he reflects on them with great maturity.
“I was close to quitting, but I stuck to athletics because of the support of my coach in Paraguay, Claudio Zúñiga, who pushed me to continue.”
“In my country I have little aid, but thanks to the help of the National Olympic Committee of Paraguay, I was able to come to Brazil and attend this camp with João Paulo, that has been excellent,” said Fatecha at the end of his stay in Brazil.
“I believe that evolving in the sport will require some sacrifices and that I might have to leave my country and perhaps return to Brazil, although being away has been tough. I missed my family a lot”.
“I usually train in mornings and afternoons, and because of that I have decided to study on my own and pass the tests and equivalences at the end of the year to keep up with school”.
After obtaining very fine results in Brazil, Fatecha has built-up some confidence, and he believes himself to be in great form.
“I will go to Morocco to show everything I have. Everything I learned in practice, so I pray to God to do my best and hopefully I will come home with a medal”.
Such a feat – a medal – would be something historical for Paraguay, and the whole South American nation will be behind its newest hope.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF
Víctor Abel Fatecha Riveros
Born in Concepción, on 10 March 1988; 1.90m; 98 Kg
Coach: Claudio Zúñiga
Evolution (JT 800g/700g): 2003: 65.52; 2004: 68.25/70.69; 2005: 69.32/76.26.
700 g Javelin
74.75 São Paulo 11 June
76.26 Rio de Janeiro 25 June (NJR)
65.40 Asunción 19 February
68.26 Asunción 16 April
65.90 Asunción 16 April
68.05 Asunción 30 April
65.50 São Paulo 18 June (Qualifying of Brazilian Championships)
69.32 São Paulo 19 June (3rd at Brazilian Championships)