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Colombia: Getting one over the neighbours

Euromoney’s visit to Bogotá coincides with the final of the Olympic women’s BMX final. The race is under way at Corredores Asociados and for a moment the Colombian firm’s trading room is transfixed on a television screen that isn’t displaying financial updates. Cleaners, visitors and traders join together to cheer on Mariana Pajon, who wins gold.

By the time of the awards ceremony, Euromoney has made it to the ministry of finance. There, minister Juan Carlos Echeverry switches the meeting from a conference room to his office. The interview is postponed as Echeverry and a small group of officials watch the medal presentation and a subsequent televised telephone exchange between Pajon and president Juan Manuel Santos.

Echeverry confesses to shedding a tear at the victory, and Pajon has clearly made her country proud.

"It was essential she won the gold," says Echeverry. Is that because, as reigning world champion, she deserved the Olympic title to underline her dominance of the sport? "No," says Echeverry. "Because although we have other medals [Colombia finished with one gold, three silver and four bronze], we needed a gold to climb above Venezuela [who finished with a solitary fencing gold]."

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