The CNMI’s Jesus Iguel left Saipan for Russia last Monday to compete in the 14th IAAF World Championships.
Iguel will be racing in the 100m sprint in the 14th IAAF World Championships that will be held in Moscow from Aug. 10 to 18. Iguel’s lone event will have its qualifying heats on Day 1 of the tournament, starting at 10:15am (4:15pm Saipan time) at the Luzhniki Stadium, the venue for the 1980 Summer Olympics and the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
“I am very excited and at the same time nervous because this is a very high-level competition and it is only my second time to compete in the Worlds,” Iguel said in an interview with Saipan Tribune last Friday during his last time trial at the Oleai Sports Complex track.
The 24-year-old sprinter first represented the CNMI in the 12th IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 2008. He also joined the 100m run where he clocked in at 11.71 seconds to eclipse his previous personal best time of 11.82 seconds registered during the 2008 Oceania Grand Prix held here on Saipan.
“This time I am aiming to beat Tyrone Omar’s record (10.99 seconds). I’ve been training hard for the past several months. I am running at the track and doing some weights training at the gym,” said Iguel, who went to Russia with coach and Northern Marianas Athletics official Elias Rangamar.
Omar set the CNMI record in the 100m run during the 2007 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa, while Iguel surpassed his mark in Poland after submitting 11.68 seconds during the 2013 Oceania Area Championships in Pepeete, Tahiti, in June.
Iguel’s heat schedule has yet to be posted at the IAAF website, but one of the runners in his event is his idol Usain Bolt of Jamaica.
“I am hoping I could watch him race and draw inspiration from him. It’s always inspiring to see these fast runners, as you are motivated to train harder and be like them in the future,” Iguel said.
Bolt won the 200m gold medal in the 2011 edition of the World Championships in Daegu, Korea, but lost in the 100m to teammate Yohan Blake.
Meanwhile, more than 2,000 athletes from 206 nations will be in Moscow for the nine-day tournament, which offers over $7 million in cash prizes, including the $100,000 for athletes who will set world records. Gold medal winners in individual event will receive $60,000, $30,000 for silver, and $20,000 for bronze. Cash prizes will also be given to the No. 4 to No. 8 finishers ($15,000, $10,000, $6,000, $5,000, and $4,000). For relays, a gold medal is worth $80,000, silver is $40,000, and bronze is $20,000. The fourth finishers will take home $16,000, $12,000 to fifth, $8,000 to sixth, $6,000 to seventh, and $4,000 to eighth. Cash prizes will only be awarded to athletes after clearing anti-doping tests.