Canadians Marco Arop and Genevieve Lalonde shattered Pan Am Games records and the United States won four gold medals as the track and field competition at the 17-day sporting gathering neared a close on Saturday.
Sudan-born Arop charged home in one minute, 44.25 seconds to win the 800 metres ahead of Puerto Rico’s Wesley Vazquez (1:44.48) with both dropping under Cuban Yeimer Lopez’s 10-year-old Games record of 1:44.58.
“I’m on top of the world right now,” 20-year-old Arop told reporters.
“I was just hoping to win a medal for Canada and to have a personal record and Pan American record is just a bonus.” Lalonde blitzed the women’s 3,000m steeplechase record by almost seven seconds, the bronze medallist at the 2015 Games stepping up to gold in 9:41:45. “I definitely had to work for it at the end, dropping all my energy into that last barrier and sprinting home,” Lalonde said.
“To bring that Pan American Games record home to Canada is special.”
The United States’ Marisa Howard (9:43.78) and Argentina’s Belen Casetta (9:44.46) also were faster than the previous record of 9:48.12 that Ashley Higginson of the United States set in 2015. Another record fell in the men’s javelin when Grenada’s Anderson Peters threw 87.31 metres to overwhelm Jamaican 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott (83.55) and better Cuban Guillermo Martinez’s 2011 mark of 87.20. The United States also had a banner day in the field.
Gwen Berry (74.62m) and Brooke Andersen (71.07m) led the Americans to gold and silver in the women’s hammer throw before compatriot Omar Craddock won the men’s triple jump, bounding 17.42m to narrowly defeat Cuba’s Jordan Diaz (17.38m). US collegiate champion Chris Nilsen cleared 5.76m on his third attempt for the pole vault title.
On the track, the United States won the women’s 4x400m relay in 3:26.46 but Colombia earned a shock win in the men’s edition, clocking 3:01.41 to the United States’ 3:01.72.
Shane Brathwaite brought gold for Barbados, edging American Freddie Crittenden by one-hundredth of a second to win the 110 metres hurdles in 13.31, while Brazil’s Altobeli da Silva won the men’s 3,000m steeplechase in 8:30.73.
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