Update! The Fairfield, CA. runner racing for Guatemala earned 12th place in the finals of the men’s 5000-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics early Friday morning.
Luis Grijalva was clocked in at 13:10.09 when he came across the finish line. The time was a personal best for Grijalva.
The winner of the race, Team Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, is also the world record holder of the event. He finished with a time of 12:58.15, just ahead of Team Canada’s Mohammad Ahmed at 12:58.61 and Team USA’s Paul Chelimo at 12:59.05.
Grijalva had faced deportation if he traveled out of the U.S.
BE INSPIRED! Luis Grijalva (CA DACA recipient) will run in the Men’s 5000meter Olympic Finals Friday 5:00 am our time.
Luis Grijalva, a Fairfield area high school graduate and Northern Arizona State University student, will compete in the men’s 5,000-meter finals for track and field after qualifying Tuesday morning.
He represented Guatemala in Friday’s race.
But for the 22-year-old, his race — riddled with obstacles — began before he set foot on the starting line in Tokyo. His status as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipient, was a roadblock for him to participate in the Olympics. Traveling out of the country could have meant him running the risk of being deported from the country.
Regardless, his coaches, roommates and friends cheered him.
“He was a ridiculously talented runner, but definitely that first year we didn’t know he was going to be quite that good,” Matthew Pence, Grijalva’s former coach from Armijo High School, said.
Luis Grijalva (seen here racing in 2018) is now an Olympian.
The Armijo High School alum is headed to the finals this Friday and will represent Guatemala. Grijalva qualified this morning.
An Olympic dream for a Dreamer, that may not have come to fruition. pic.twitter.com/EWm54iRgkj
— KCRA Kay Recede (@KayRecede) August 3, 2021