Ecuadorian weightlifters win Olympic gold and silver medals, criticize lack of gov’t. support; Lasso pledges funds for IESS; Court reinstates Quito mayor

Aug 2, 2021 | 14 comments

It took 25 years for Ecuador to win its second Olympic Gold medal. It only took a week for it to win its third. To sweeten the deal, Ecuador also won a silver medal on Monday.

Neisi Dajomes made history Sunday, winning Ecuador’s second gold medal.

Weightlifter Neisi Dajomes made history Sunday not only for winning a gold medal in the 76 kilogram category, but for being the first Ecuadorian woman to win a medal in Olympic competition. She took top honors by lifting 118 kg. in the snatch event and 145 kg. in the clean and jerk, for a total of 263 kg. Katherine Nye of the U.S. won the silver medal and Aremi Fuestes of Mexico won the bronze.

Within hours, Tamara Salazar, a weightlifter in the 87 kg. class, won a silver medal for Ecuador. It is only the second Olympic silver ever won by an Ecuadorian, the first being by Cuencano speedwalker Jefferson Perez in the 2008 games..

Tamara Salazar

The daughter of Colombian refugees, Dajomes, 23, began weightlifting training at the age of 12. A native of Puyo, Dajomes won the youth world championship in Georgia in 2016 and competed later that year at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she finished seventh. She retained the youth championship in 2017 in Tokyo and in 2018 in Tashkent but her efforts were marked with tragedy as she lost her brother and mother in those years.

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Salazar, 22, is a native of Carchi in northern Ecuador’s Chota Valley. In 2019, she won the South American championship in her weight class. She won the bronze medal at the Lima Pan American Games several months later.

Like cycling gold medalist Richard Carapaz, Dajomes and Salazar have criticized the Ecuadorian government for not supporting athletes in Olympic and other international competition. “They want to take credit for our accomplishments but, unlike other countries, they give us no support at all,” Dajomes says. “I was fortunate to win without a coach but it was not easy. The government built the high performance athletic center in Cuenca, which is supposed to provide training for athletes, but it has been closed for two years.”

Lasso will use oil and mining reserves for IESS health system
President Guillermo Lasso said Friday that he will tap oil and mining reserves to maintain services of Ecuador’s Social Security health system. Administrators of the system reported last month that they have less than two months of operating capital.

“Maintaining the health services is a matter of trust for the workers of Ecuador and we will not let them down,” Lasso said. “The financial stability of both the pension and health services have been neglected for many years and we must develop long-term solutions to restore the health of the system.” He added that an actuarial review is currently underway, with results due by September.

Court reinstates Quito mayor
The Pichincha Provincial Court has reversed an order of the Contentious Electoral Tribunal (TCE) and reinstated Jorge Yunda as mayor of Quito. The TCE had upheld a vote by the Quito municipal council removing Yunda from office based on allegations that he misappropriated funds and did not follow bidding procedures. Yunda will resume his mayoral duties on Monday based on the court’s ruling.

Santiago Guarderas, who served as Quito mayor for 10 days following the TCE decision, rejected Yunda’s reinstatement and said he would take the case to the Constitutional Court. “We have two contradictory rulings and these must be reconciled through the legal process,” he said. “The question of who is the mayor of Quito is far from resolved.”

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