Justas 101

Whenever you hear Justas, you think of the amazing partying, the uncontrollable drinking and the inevitable late nights. (18+) But there is so much more to it! After an amazing weekend at Mayagüez, celebrating Justas with friends, I believe it is time to get to know some facts about this intercollegiate sport competition. 
 
LAI stands for Liga Atlética Interuniversitaria de Puerto Rico e Islas Vírgenes; It counts with the participation of 21 puertorican institutions and 1 from the Virgin Islands. The LAI was founded in 1929 by Cosme Beitía of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, Luis Izquierdo and José Morales of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus and Charles Lecker of the Interamerican University of San Germán. 
Back when it started, only 3 sports were celebrated: baseball, basketball and track and field, where only men were allowed to participate.  In the academic year of 1969-1970, women were finally integrated to compete as well.  
Since its founding, they were celebrated at San Juan at the Sixto Escobar until 1993. Later years, they were moved to Ponce and in 2010 to Mayagüez only to return to Ponce. This year they returned to Mayagüez and the rumors are that next year will also be at RUM’s hometown. 

Photo: UPR Dialogo

It is a whole year kind of thing! Some of the first semester events are volleyball, baseball (M), soccer (M), taekwondo, cross country race, etc.  And during the second semester the following sports are celebrated: track and field relays, baseball (F), basketball, softball, soccer (F), beach volleyball, judo, ping pong, cheerleading and dance, eventually concluding with the Justas Atleticas which is the main and final event. From parades to last minute shot winnings to the outstanding performance of our neighbors of el Colegio at Mayagüez
There have been four athletes that had competed in Justas that have been olympic medalist: Ton Dees (110m c/v) Silver at Spain 1992, Catherine Ibarguen (triple jump) Silver at London 2012, Luguelin Santos (400m) Silver at London 2012 and Javier Culson (400m c/v) Bronce at London 2012.   

Photo: Javier Culson

Photo: Luguelin Santos

 
Puerto Rico does it better and here is the picture to prove it. (18+)