Tuesday July 21st, Toronto, Canada– Trinidad and Tobago’s medal hunt on the track got off to a blazing start with Keston Bledman, Semoy Hackett and Kelly Ann Baptiste advancing to the semi finals of the 100m sprint event.


Bledman won his heat comfortably in 9.95 saying, “It was a good race. The wind was nice; the atmosphere was nice so it feels good. I’m just coming here and trying to execute one step at a time.” There was a bit of drama for his compatriot Marcus Duncan who faced the starter in the previous heat. There appeared to be an echo on the gun 40m into the race, which caused two of the runners to stop. Duncan slowed down and then was forced to play catch up. The race was eventually recalled, but Duncan didn’t seem to have anything left in the tank.  He eventually finished 7th in a time of 10.52 and didn’t advance.


On the women’s side, Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett both qualified for the semi finals of the women’s 100m. Baptiste won her heat in 11.07 and said, “the aim was to qualify as easy as possible and I think I did that.” Hackett her roommate for this year’s Pan Am games ran a season’s best of 11.17 to advance to the next round.


In the quarter mile event, Sparkle McKnight won the first 400m hurdles heat in a season’s best time time of 56.56. Following the race she said, “It felt good, the wind was strong but I just wanted to win my heat and make it to the finals. I feel good about making the finals so I’m out to contend for a medal and do my best.” Her compatriot Joseanne Lucas finished seventh with an uncharacteristically slow time of 1:00:30 and did not advance.  Of her performance Lucas said, "I'm disappointed in the run. The race doesn't truly reflect my condition for the year. I'll just move on to the next one."


Triple Jumper Ayanna Alexander finished 8th in the women’s triple jump finals. Her furthest distance was 13.83. Over in the women’s 800m semfinal, Alena Brooks finished 5th in time of 2:07:84 and did not advance.


In field hockey, the men’s team lost 3-0 to Canada. The Men’s football team took an early lead in their final match versus Mexico, but could not hold on and went on to lose the game 4-2.


Track and field action continues tomorrow with the men’s 400m, semi-finals and finals for the 100m men and women, and the 400m hurdles final.

altOctober 30 - The 2011 Pan American Games drew to a conclusion exactly where it begun 17 days ago as the Omnilife Stadium staged a wonderful Closing Ceremony that embraced everything that is colourful, vibrant, passionate and exciting about the Mexican culture.

But perhaps the most telling moment of the event came when Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, the President of the Guadalajara 2011 Organising Committee and Governor of Jalisco, revealed the city will put forward a bid for the Olympics and Paralympics following the successful hosting of the Pan American Games.

"At this Pan American Games, we have built confidence, pride, recognition," said Marquez in a speech to the crowd.

"We trust in ourselves, in our ability and we work to do great things.

"Thanks for making these Pan American Games the great celebration of America."

A bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics is now on the cards, which would be the first time Mexico has hosted the Games since Mexico City in 1968.

"We have done things right here so now we go for the Olympics," said Marquez.

"Now we are on the Olympics and Viva Mexico!"

His speech was followed by Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) President Mario Vázquez Raña taking the microphone to declare the event officially closed; describing it as the best Pan American Games ever.

"We all know that the road to get here was long and very difficult to navigate but we got a firm foundation in the end," said Rana.

"A special thanks goes to Emilio Gonzalez Marquez.

"Thank you Governor and as President of the Organising Committee, congratulations on achieving the best Pan American Games in history.

"On behalf of the Pan American Sports Organisation, on October 30, 2011, I solemnly declare closed the sixteenth Pan American Games Guadalajara 2011.

"Thank you very much and see you in Toronto 2015."

The arena was unsurprisingly sold-out with 50,000 screaming Mexican fans crammed in to create a deafening atmosphere that proved the perfect complement to the event that unfolded in front of them.

The Ceremony began by showing highlights from the event before the athletes and officials entered as one to watch the speeches from the Marquez and Rana.

It was then that the Mexican theme of the Ceremony was halted temporarily as Toronto, who will host the next edition of the Pan American Games in 2015, took centre stage in what was a superb eight-minute segment from the Canadian city.

altIn an enthralling Handover Ceremony, that saw symbolically Guadalajara pass the PASO flag to the Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, a group of dancers entertained the crowd as images of Toronto's magnificent skyline, featuring the iconic CN Tower, were portrayed and Jazz singer Florence K sang the national anthem.

Shortly after, Jamaican group the Wailers took to the stage performing reggae music that delighted both the athletes and crowd in a string of performance that also saw Argentinian pop singer Diego Torres perform.

But the spectacular finale came as Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin emerged and bought the crowd to their feet with his exuberant single "Livin' la Vida Loca," the song that saw him catapult to international stardom back in 1999.

As Martin's electrifying performance ended, a colourful array of fireworks bought the Ceremony to an end as Mexico celebrated successfully hosting their biggest sporting event since the 1986 World Cup.

In total, the 2011 Pan American Games saw over 6,000 athletes compete across 36 sports and it was America who dominated as they topped the medal table with a huge total of 236, 92 of which were gold.

Cuba were second with 136 medals and 58 golds while Brazil finished third with 141 medals and 48 golds.

Hosts Mexico finished just outside the top three positions as their 133 medals, 42 of which were gold, saw them take fourth place.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Tom Degun

altAfter 17 days of intense competition in Mexico, it was rather sad watching the Closing Ceremony last night bring proceedings at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games to a conclusion.

In keeping with everything that has embodied the competition, the Ceremony at the Omnilife Stadium was full of the passion, colour and excitement that made it a spectacle to remember.

In addition, it even featured a brilliantly surreal performance from Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin who bought the house down with the iconic 1999 single "Livin' la Vida Loca".

But for me, the telling moment came when Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, the President of the Guadalajara 2011 Organising Committee and Governor of Jalisco, took to the microphone and roared to the people of Guadalajara that, "Now we go for the Olympics."

By all accounts, his statement was not just an exaggerated war cry designed to fire up the 50,000 crowd but actually a major strategic goal for Guadalajara following the near $1 billion (£620 million/€718 million) invested to improve sports infrastructure, build the Athletes' Village and actually stage the Pan American Games in the city.

Having just missed the deadline to put forward a bid for the 2020 Olympics, 2024 now seems like the likely bet for a Guadalajara Olympic bid.

So could they do it?

Well certainly not tomorrow. But 2024 would perhaps be a realistic timeframe to get things ready in the city and prove to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they could stage its blue-ribbon competition.

After all, a bid is one thing, a winning bid is a whole different story.

But Guadalajara will draw strength from Rio de Janeiro, who used their impressive staging of the 2007 Pan American Games as the platform for their successful 2016 Olympic and Paralympic bid in Copenhagen in October 2009.

Certainly the foundations for a great Olympics are in Guadalajara.

altIt features superb sports facilities, hundreds of hotels, designer shops, a huge range of restaurants, great weather and a very charming Mexican 'look and feel' that is a very welcoming for any visitor.

But they do have one obvious Achilles Heel.

It doesn't appear to be security, which ran extremely smoothly despite prior concerns, and it isn't contaminated meat in Mexico containing the illegal drug clenbuterol as so far not one athlete at the Pan American Games has tested positive for the substance - although admittedly every precaution was taken by the 42 nations in order to avoid the occurrence and the meat was escorted into the Athletes' Village by armed police guard.

No; it is that dreaded "T" word again. Traffic.

Crossing the busy road in Guadalajara is an achievement in itself and getting a bus to and from a venue is a long, gruelling process that will take up a minimum of half your day if you are lucky to miss the congested areas – which appear to be everywhere.

There is no respite at night either, when the volume of cars on the road somehow manages to increase.

It is the problem of traffic that London are becoming increasing concerned about with the 2012 Games looming ever closer and I was not at all surprised to see numerous representative of the London Organising Committee out and about in Mexico.

After all, the 2011 Pan American Games provided the last chance for London 2012 to see a major multi-sport event in action and learn from its mistakes.

Well, there is the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in January but is debatable how much London will learn, operationally, from staging a winter sport event for 14-to-18-year-olds.

So any accurate report heading back from Guadalajara to the London 2012 HQ in Canary Wharf will highlight the traffic problem at the event and suggest yet again that the English capital continue their commendable efforts to minimise disruption next year.

The IOC have for a long time highlighted the issue as London's bid hurdle and it is becoming a much more prominent feature in the media as the 2012 Countdown Clock in Trafalgar Square keeps ticking towards D-Day.

London actually has major advantages over Guadalajara when it comes to transport in terms of a tube system they promise will be uninterrupted during the Games, the Javelin Train - which will get from central London to the Olympic Park in seven minutes - and walk and cycle ways across the city that are being heavily invested in before next summer.

However, doubts remain over how successful the controversial Olympic Route Network (ORN) will be in full operation complete with the controversial, designated lanes for athletes, the media and VIP officials.

Given that London's roads are already full to the brim, closing off large parts of the capital's existing roads spells disaster on paper.

Undoubtedly huge thought and planning has already gone into the plan but the issue can never be investigated too much and right until the last possible second, organisers must continue to address the topic to ensure that the problem does not unfairly dominate the headlines.

After all, Guadalajara 2011 showed exactly how irritatingly disappointing it can be when a huge major sporting celebration has the dampeners put on it simply due to the fact that getting from A to B is a major hassle.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Tom Degun

altGUADALAJARA, Mexico, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Two interception tries from Conor Trainor spurred Canada to a 26-24 upset victory over Argentina in the gold medal match in the inaugural rugby sevens tournament at the Pan-American Games on Sunday.

The two-point winning margin ultimately derived from Nathan Hirayama's fine conversion kick from the left touchline after Canada's first try but it was Trainor's successful forays into the Argentina backline that kept his team in the match.

"This time last year he was on the fringe of going to the World Cup and he's just come back from the World Cup (where he) scored two tries against New Zealand. Now he's got a gold medal here," Canada coach Geraint John said of Trainor after the medal ceremony.

"He's a very instinctive player ... Sometimes as a coach we tell them not to do it because it can put us out of our structure, but it worked," John added.

The curly-haired, 21-year-old Trainor said: "I'm sure the coaches were pretty unhappy while I was running but I'm sure their hearts lifted when they saw me catch the ball and go in."

Rugby, which has also been played at the Commonwealth Games, will return to the Olympic Games in the sevens format at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The United States, last winners of the Olympic gold medal in rugby in Paris in 1924, were third at the Pan-American Games after beating Uruguay 21-17 for the bronze medal.

In the gold medal final, favourites Argentina went ahead with a converted try under the posts by Gabriel Azcarate with John Moonlight touching down in the left corner in a Canadian breakaway and Hirayama converting to put the teams level at 7-7.

Francisco Cuneo crossed to give Argentina a 12-7 lead at the interval but Moonlight scored his second try soon after the restart and Trainor's first intercept gave Canada the lead for the first time.

Replacement Ramiro Moyano scored under the posts at the other end and Gonzalo Gutierrez converted to put Argentina level again at 19-19.

But Trainor, who scored his two tries against eventual champions New Zealand in a pool match at the World Cup, made another interception when Argentina lost possession in a tackle.

Hirayama's conversion gave them a seven-point cushion going into the final seconds.

Argentina kept the ball in play after the siren and replacement Joaquin Luccheti went over for their last, potentially match-saving try but Gutierrez failed to slot in the conversion from out on the left where Hirayama had been successful earlier.

"In the last couple of years we've been losing games we were in the other team with by two, three points, often that came down to a conversion so we've worked on it a bit," an elated Hirayama said.

Argentina's coach Nicolas Fernandez Lobbe, middle brother of Pumas Ignacio and Juan Martin, said his team had lost because of their own mistakes.

"We had two errors, two interceptions in moments when we had got on top. I think that affected us, but we played badly, I think we lost it," Fernandez Lobbe told Reuters.

Asked if Argentina's game was easy to read, he said: "That's how to play sevens, especially a final when there's a lot of fatigue, you have to focus more on the system.

"In fact, (Hirayama's first) conversion, which scraped over 'asking for permission', cost us the match."


Source: http://mobile.reuters.com

By Rex Gowar

altThe inaugural Pan American Games rugby competition at the Tlaquepaque Stadium, Guadalajara, was deemed an instant success.
After 12 grueling, action-packed matches under the heavy Mexican sun, every one of the eight competing teams made rugby history as Sevens was first played in a multi-sport event in the Americas.
“Rugby being played in the Pan American Games is superb for everybody involved and for the future of the game in the whole continent,” said a delighted IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset. “The level of support was very positive to see and we are playing in a rugby field that will be one of the legacies for Mexican Rugby.”
Canada proved the team to beat after a solid opening day with three victories from their three matches. With eight players that were in Rugby World Cup 2011 a month ago, their physicality was too strong for their Pool Aopponents.
Against a Brazilian team that got better during the day, the Canadians scored seven unanswered tries to win 45-0 before beating Chile 35-7.
The big pool match was against neighbours USA however and a 29-21 victory. “It is always an important game for us, but with the added incentive that they are a core team at the HSBC Sevens World Series, it is important for us to show we can beat them,” said Nathan Hirayama, at 23 a veteran of the Canadian.
USA found the opening day tough – they had to work hard for their opening 14-7 win against Chile and then drew with Brazil 19-19, coming back from a half time 12-5 deficit and were not able to close the match down.
Brazil, who earlier in the year shocked the rugby world by beating Argentina in the South American Sevens, recovered from the heavy early loss to draw with the USA with the last move of the game.
From a tap penalty, Felipe Silva ran in an angle to wrong-foot the defence to score close to the posts. Lucas ‘Tank’ Duque scored the goal to draw the game. They then went on to defeat Chile 14-7, showing maturity to control a hard opponent.
Argentina top Pool B
In Pool B Argentina showed signs of an improved team in winning its three games despite an early scare against Mexico.
The home team, basking in the excitement of playing in the newest of rugby venues in their country, drew first blood when Pascal Nadaud scored in the second minute. The almost capacity crowd erupted in celebration; despite not being to sustain the lead against a Nicolás Bruzzone-led team that won 26-5, the Mexican display was heartening.
The Argentines went on to beat Guyana 40-0 in a six-try display and worked hard against bitter rivals and neighbours Uruguay.
“This is a process and we are getting better with each game,” said hooker Santiago Bottini. “We are here to win the Gold Medal and were going step by step. Whoever we play will be hard.”
The Uruguayans, with a team that included a few “veterans” of IRB age grade tournaments, beat Mexico and Guyana by similar scores – 20-0 and 22-0. They failed against Argentina but still took a lot of positives from their 10-26 loss.
Mexico had their moment during the opening day’s matches, being a headache for Argentina and Uruguay. Against Guyana, the qualifier from the NACRA regional sevens and a must win game, they were unable to control their anxiety and lost by the narrow margin of 12-5.
Sunday will open with quarter-finals and will then move on to medal matches.


Source: www.irb.com