A SPANISH athlete broke down in tears after blundering officials erased her winning long jump mark.
Long jumper Maria Vicente narrowly missed out on the gold medal at Spanish athletics championships on Sunday in an ‘emotional’ mix-up.
The 19-year-old is believed to have leapt 6.50 metres in her first jump but was stunned when two officials wiped the pit after mistakenly thinking the young athlete had made a foul.
Upon replays they acknowledged that Vicente had not overstepped the mark and she was given another try.
Visibly shaken Vicente fouled on her next jump but later recorded 6.24m, followed by 4.83 and she eventually finished third.
The bronze medal winner from Catalonia, said: “There’s no explanation for what happened.
“The judge saw that it was a valid jump but I don’t understand why those in the pit thought it was a foul and wiped it out.
“I feel so emotional because I wanted to do the best I could and I lost because of this. I expected much more from the championship.”
She later took to her Instagram and wrote: “Obviously I am leaving this championship with tears of helplessness but also with a good taste in my mouth.”
Vicente added that she will be back training on Wednesday after ‘recharging her batteries’.
Spanish athletics federation president Raul Chapado apologised to Vicente and her coach Ramon Cid for the error.
“It’s our responsibility to create the best championship possible but we’re all humans and we make mistakes,” he said in a video on the organisation’s Twitter account.
“We have to improve to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.”