Mexico finished the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, with a total of 341 medals, the highest number ever won at the regional sporting event.
Mexico’s tally — which included 132 gold, 118 silver and 91 bronze medals — was 99 more than the number won by the Cuban team, which finished in second place with 242 medals, of which 102 were gold.
Colombia finished third despite winning 28 more medals than Cuba because it won fewer gold medals.
For Mexico, it was the first time that its team came out on top of the medal tally at a Central American and Caribbean Games at which Cuba also competed. At previous games it was only the most successful country when the island nation was absent from the competition.
The delegación azteca at this year’s event was made up of 675 athletes who competed across the whole gamut of sports that made up the event.
The team’s female athletes fared slightly better than the men, winning 180 medals compared to 161.
Valentín Yanes, an official with the National Sports Commission (Conade) told a press conference after the conclusion of the games that Mexico’s strong showing was the result of many years of hard work but added that greater challenges are still to come.
“We have to continue with our growth, with our hard work, we can’t be too sure of ourselves. The  Pan American Games includes first-world sporting nations, such as the United States and Canada, and then the  Olympic Games come and that’s . . . where we should be aiming,” he said.
Yanes also said that each medal winner will receive cash prizes of 50,000 pesos (US $2,700) for gold, 25,000 pesos (US $1,350) for silver and 12,500 pesos (US $675) for bronze, adding that multiple medal winners will only be eligible to claim once for their best result.
As the bumper medal crop indicates, the highlights for the Mexican team in Barranquilla were many but some performances stand out as being particularly memorable.
They include Diego del Real breaking a 20-year-old games record to win gold in the hammer throw, Juan Luis Barrios winning his eighth career gold medal at the games in the 10,000-meter running event to become the region’s most successful track athlete and Daniela Rodríguez winning Mexico’s first gold at the games and in the process becoming Mexico’s most successful ever taekwondo competitor at the games.
Madaí Pérez won Mexico’s final gold medal in Colombia during the final day of competition yesterday, crossing the line first in the women’s marathon in a time of two hours, 57 minutes and 55 seconds.
The women’s soccer team also took out gold beating Costa Rica 3-1 in the final, while the pool, the shooting range and the squash court were all among the happy hunting grounds for medals for Mexico’s team.
The next edition of the games will be held in Panama City in 2022 while the 2019 Pan American Games will be held in Lima, Peru, next July and August.