Former Athlete, Zecinha Barbosa Celebrates 35 Years of Gold in Indianapolis

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Former athlete, Jose Luiz Barbosa, Zecinha, celebrates 35 years of winning a gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis in the United States this Tuesday.

The feat happened in 1987 with a time of 1:47.49 in the 800 meters. It was Latin America’s first title in the competition.

Zequinha, who now works as an assistant coach on cross country, middle and long distance teams at Bellevue University in Nebraska, has many fond memories of his first major achievement. The first is that his participation was not predicted, but he was convinced to compete by coach Luiz Alberto de Oliveira, who died in 2021.

“I told him, I’m not in shape, but you’re the boss,” he recalled. In the semi-finals, he finished second in the second series with 1:50.74, guaranteeing a place for medal decision.

“I was behind Dutchman Rob Drupers, but I had to push a lot. I had a lot of pain in my legs. After the race I lay on the bathroom floor, trying to recover. And Luiz pushed me to do 5. Said. Kimi jog after my recovery, physiotherapy and lots of ice. When I entered the hotel I was in a hot tub. It was difficult”, he announced.

Zequinha’s time was 1:47.49, a South American record at the time, followed by Soviet Vladimir Groudin (1:47.68) and Moroccan soldier Lahabi (1:47.79).

“This achievement was significant in my career. That same year, I managed to run under 1:44 for the first time and also won a bronze medal at the 1987 Rome World Cup”, he commented directly in an interview. From Las Vegas Airport…

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The former athlete still has a silver medal in the 800 meters at the 1991 Tokyo World Cup, as well as a silver medal on an indoor track in Budapest–1989. He competed at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles–1984, Seoul–1988, Barcelona–1992 and Atlanta–1996, advanced twice in the 800 m final and finished fourth in Spain.

Throughout his career, he ran 1:45.00 38 times in the 800 meters. In 1991, at the age of 30, he achieved his best result, defying the calendar. At the Tokyo World Cup, he won the silver medal. In Rieti, Italy, he posted a personal best of 1:43.08 and ended the year at number one in the world rankings.

His international career was strengthened in December 1983 in the city of Eugene, United States, when he began training with Joaquim Cruz and Egberto Guimaraes along with Luiz Alberto de Oliveira.

About the author: Sarah Gracie

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