Wednesday 25th July, 2007

 

Silver & bronze

...in T&T's Pan Am bag

 
 
 
 
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EMILE Abraham’s silver and bronze medals from swimmer George Bovell 111 and taekwondo’s Chinedum Osuji gave T&T three medals after nine days of action at the Pan American Games on Sunday.

The T&T hockeymen will look to add to that bag today when they play Chile for the bronze medal.

The United States led the medal count with 58 golds, followed by Cuba with 29 and Brazil 25.

Six-time gold medalist Thiago Pereira lost both of his swimming finals and two Cuban boxers failed to show for their quarterfinals at the Games on Sunday.

Pereira’s attempt at winning eight golds in the pool was thwarted by American Randall Bal, who won the 100-meter backstroke in a Pan Ams record 53.66 seconds. Pereira could finish only third, then second with his Brazilian teammates in the 400 medley relay as Bal and the Americans won in 3:34.37, also a Pan Am record.

“It was a good day,” Bal said. “It’s always good to take the gold home.”

Meanwhile, Olympic and world bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and Cuban teammate Erislandy Lara didn’t appear for their weigh-ins, and games and Cuban officials could offer no explanation.

“They left the village and haven’t returned,” said Pedro Roque, coach and chief of Cuba’s boxing delegation.

Both of their opponents advanced to the semifinals, earning automatic bronze medals, at least.

On the final day of pool action, the United States won five more gold medals, ending up winning 19 of 32 events and capturing a total of 38 medals. Brazil added two golds on Sunday for 12 golds in all and a medal tally of 27.

With his silver and bronze, Pereira, who surpassed Mark Spitz’s 40-year-old record on Saturday for the most gold medals in a singles Pan Ams, overtook former swimmer Djan Madruga as the Brazilian with the most overall medals at a single Pan Ams. Madruga won three silver and three bronze in San Juan in 1979.

In the women’s 200 backstroke, Teresa Crippen of the United States won in a meet record in 2:10.57.

“Records exist to be broken,” Crippen said. “I didn’t even look to the clock, I was already expecting it.”

Caitlin Leverenz of the United States won the 200 breaststroke in 2:25.62, while the American team of Julia Smit, Michelle McKeehan, Maritza Correia and Kathleen Hersey won the women’s 400 medley relay, beating Canada and Brazil. Smit and Hersey won a total of four golds each.

Brazilians won the women’s sprints; Cesar Cielo her third gold medal at these games in the 50 freestyle in 21.84 seconds, a Pan Ams record; and Rebeca Gusmao the 100 freestyle in 55.17 for her second gold.

In the beginning of athletics, Mariela Gonzalez of Cuba won the women’s marathon in 2:43:11 ahead of two Brazilians — 2003 champion Marcia Narloch (2:45:10) and Sirlene Pinho (2:47:36), who led for most of the race.

Gonzalez took the lead in the final 15 kilometers (9 miles).

“My strategy was to advance progressively, without any rush and with mental control,” she said. “I was trying not to waste energy.”

Narloch and Pinho had to receive medical attention after crossing the finish line.

“It was too hot, but I guess you would expect that in Rio,” Narloch said.

Cristina Lopez won El Salvador’s first ever gold at the Pan Ams in the women’s 20-kilometer walk, earning a call from President Tony Saca.

Olympic champion Jefferson Perez of Ecuador won the men’s walk.

In women’s tennis, Milagros Sequera of Venezuela beat Mariana Duque of Colombia 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1 to clinch her second consecutive Pan Ams title.

Duque, runner-up in the Junior French Open, also lost the doubles final with Karen Castiblanco to Argentines Jorgelina Cravero and Betina Jozami.

Fan favorites Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego beat Americans Hans Stolfus and Ty Loomis 21-19, 21-13 to win the men’s beach volleyball final. The Brazilians did not lose a single set in the tournament.

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