Marileidy established herself as the most successful Dominican female athlete
Santo Domingo.- In 2023, Marileidy Paulino has achieved unprecedented success in the world of Dominican athletics. While her silver medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games placed her at the top among Dominican athletes, her accomplishments this year have set a new benchmark.
This remarkable year for Paulino saw her achieve a feat that no other Dominican Olympic athlete, male or female, has accomplished. While Félix Sánchez still holds the stratospheric throne with his two Olympic golds, Paulino has secured the second spot, leaving behind competitors like Luguelin Santos, Gabriel Mercedes, and Félix Díaz.
In the history of Dominican athletics, there has never been an athlete who won gold in the Central American and Caribbean Games, the Pan American Games, became a World Champion, and confirmed her dominance in the Diamond League, all within a single year.
The only time the main competitions in the region and the continental ones coincided was in 1959 (in Caracas and Chicago), and apart from baseball, the Dominican Republic did not have athletes at the World Cup level back then.
Paulino’s near-perfect year took her to compete in 11 countries over nine months. She claimed victories in most of her events, rarely needing a photo finish. Out of 20 individual 400-meter dash races, she finished first in all but one, where she secured third place in a Diamond League event in Poland.
Her impressive season kicked off in February with a 100-meter victory in Colombia. In March and April, she triumphed in four 200-meter races in Ecuador, in the Military Games, and in a 300-meter race in Puerto Rico. May saw her debut in the Diamond League in Qatar with a resounding victory, followed by podium finishes in Los Angeles and Paris in July. In El Salvador, she added gold in the 400 meters and silver in the relay mixed 4×400 and women’s 4×100.
The pinnacle of her year came in August when she became the first Dominican woman to win a World Cup on the Olympic field in Budapest, Hungary, joining an elite group of Dominican ladies who have achieved world competition success.
Her outstanding season continued in September, with points earned in the World Athletics elite event in China and a victorious finale in Oregon at the Diamond League, securing her crown. She had missed three of the series’ seven stops in Italy, Monaco, and Belgium.
In Chile, she planned to run only in the 200 meters, an off-season competition where elite athletes typically rest. However, she surprised everyone by joining the mixed 4×400 relay and played a crucial role in securing gold. In Chile, she also won silver with the women’s 4×400 relay and bronze in the 4×100.
Only Félix Sánchez, who dominated the 400 meters hurdles between 2001 and 2004, remains above Paulino in the records. Supersanchez won world titles in Edmonton ‘2011 and Paris ‘2003, the Panam in Santo Domingo, and the Golden League three times, a competition that later evolved into the Diamond League.