A Kenya-born athlete has made personal history by earning her first medal for Mexico at this year’s Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Risper Biyaki Gesabwa finished second place, winning a silver medal in the women’s 10,000-meter race on August 6. She finished with a time of 31:59:00, surpassing her personal record.
“It was not easy…I know Mexico will be proud of this silver,” she told Fox Sports MX. She added that next time she hopes to go for the gold.
Risper first arrived in Mexico in 2011 for racing competitions. She took a liking to the weather and the people and decided she wanted to represent the country in national competitions. She became a naturalized Mexican citizen in September 2018.
If her trajectory continues in this direction, she could possibly represent Mexico in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
Her achievement comes at a time where a record number of African immigrants are coming to Mexico, mostly to the northern border in search of seeking refuge to the U.S. However, as asylum cases drag on, some have decided to stay in Mexico. Although her migration story is different, it’s another example of a growing African presence in the country.
The country has historically treated its Black population poorly, but it has recently begun to acknowledge its Afro heritage. Recently, the government passed a measure to officially recognize Afro-Mexicans as an ethnic group in the national constitution.
For me, it’s heartwarming to see a Black woman holding up the Mexican flag with such pride. Can we say Blackxican excellence?