Spectacular day of athletics at the Panam Games with Marileidy Paulino and Renan Correa as the main protagonists © Getty Images

Thursday saw the third day of track and field athletics at the Panam Games, with better weather than the day before and the presence of some stars who brought the passion to its peak. The event took place at the Julio Martínez Prádanos National Stadium in Nuñoa, northeast of Santiago de Chile.

One of the standout performers on Thursday was Marileidy Paulino. The Dominican is the current world champion and Olympic runner-up in the 400 meters, with a sensational personal best of 48.76. On Tuesday, she played a decisive role in her country's Pan American gold in the mixed 4x400.

Not content with that, Paulino took another step forward with the second major triumph of her career in the 200 metres, following at the 2019 Military Games as a member of the Dominican Republic Air Force (she holds the rank of second lieutenant). 

She dominated with an excellent time of 22.74, followed by the Cuban Yunisleidy García in 23.33, who failed unable to achieve the 100 and 200m 'double,' a feat only achieved by the Cuban Liliana Allen in 1991 and the American Evelyn Ashford in 1979) and the Brazilian Ana Carolina de Jesús (23.52).

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

In the men's final, the dynamic Brazilian Renan Correa confirmed the promise he had shown semi-finals, winning with an impressive time of 20.37. He was followed by the Dominican José Alnardo González with 20.56, who also narrowly missed the 'double', and Nadale Buntin from Sant Kitts and Nevis (20.79). It was Brazil's third gold in the men's 200 after Robson Caetano Da Silva in Havana in 1991 and Claudinei Da Silva in Winnipeg in 1999.

Just over an hour later, Correa capped a magnificent evening with a crucial performance on the final leg of the Brazilian 4x100m relay team, which won their first gold medal in an impressive time of 38.68 to defend the title they won four years ago. Cuba took silver in 39.26 and Argentina claimed a historic bronze in 39.48 (a national record), while the United States suffered a relay mishap and failed to finish due to a baton change error.

Few events at these Panam Games will match the calibre of the women's triple jump, with Cuba's Liadagmis Povea (fifth at the Tokyo Olympics and sixth at the last World Championships), her compatriot Leyanis Pérez (current World Championships bronze medallist), and Dominica's Thea Lafond, silver medallist at last year's Commonwealth Games and winner of the Diamond League in Paris.

Another standout at the Panam Games was the Canada's Sarah Mitton, the reigning Commonwealth shot put champion and world runner-up to American Chase Ealey in Budapest. Despite her clear superiority, the North American gave her all and sent the four-kilogram shot to 19.19 metres for her first gold at the Panam Games, followed by Dominican Rosa Ramírez (17.99) and American Adelaide Aquilla (17.73).

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Following the finals, the women's pole vault also saw high-level competition, with American Bridget Williams winning with 4.60 metres after three consecutive gold medals for Cuba's Yarisley Silva. Venezuela's Robeilys Peinado (third at the 2017 World Championships) took silver with 4.55, and Cuba's Aslin Quiala took bronze with 4.40.

It was a thrilling Canadian double in the men's 1,500m final, with the top seven finishers separated by less than a second. Canadian Charles Philibert-Thiboutot won (3:39.76), just two hundredths of a second ahead of compatriot Robert Heppenstall, and American Cadey Comber took bronze (3:39.90).

In a slow-paced women's 5,000m final, Venezuela's Joselyn Brea won in 16:04.12, followed by American Taylor Werner (16:06.48) and Canadian Julia-anne Staehli (16:06.75). The heptathlon title went to American Erin Marsh (5,882 points), with compatriot Jordan Gray in third (5,494) and Puerto Rican Alysbeth Felix taking silver (5,665).

In the women's 4x100m final, Cuba led the way to victory, anchored by multi-medallist Yunisleidy García (43.72), followed by an exuberant Chile (44.19) and the Dominican Republic once again with Paulino, who achieved her third medal in 44.32.