Grenada’s Anderson Peters broke the Pan-American Games record in the javelin throw on Saturday (10), throwing 87.31m to highlight the final day of track and field action at the Estadio de la Videna in Lima.
The 21-year-old, world ranked No.10, bronze medallist at the 2016 World U20 Championships and twice NCAA champion, started the competition in superb form, unleashing the best throw of his life. He followed with 81.78m, 78.92m, 85.90m, 81.21m and a long foul after stepping on the line. Peters’ previous best was 86.62m when winning the NCAA title of 5 June in Austin representing Mississippi State University. This was the third time Peters improved his own national record this season.
Peters’ gold was the first-ever by his country at the Games, while his performance moved him to the fifth on the 2019 world lists. Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist, defending champion and world ranked No.14, was second with 83.55m. Saint Lucia’s Albert Reynolds completed the all-Caribbean podium with a national record of 82.19m.
Canadians set two games records
A total of 15 championship records have fallen at this edition of the Games, two more coming from Canadian athletes on Saturday. 20 year-old Marco Arop, also from Mississippi State, took the 800m with 1:44.25 after a brave effort by Puerto Rico’s Wesley Vázquez, who set a fast pace with 49.75 at the bell and 1:16.4 at 600m. The tall Arop passed Vázquez in the final 50 metres, grabbing the third gold medal for his country in this event. Vázquez was only 0.08 off of his personal best with 1:44.48, just ahead of his compatriot Ryan Sánchez (1:45.19).
Geneviève Lalonde broke the Games record in the 3000m steeplechase in 9:41.45. Brazil’s Tatiane da Silva, the South American champion took the lead with a modest 1000m split (3:20.94). The Canadian record holder then made her move with three laps to go, passing 2000m in 6:37.33 and covering the final laps in 73.55, 73.69 and 73.2.
Lalonde, third in Toronto 2015, produced Canada’s first victory at the distance. The 27-year-old from Montreal, world ranked No.13, beat USA’s Marisa Howard (9:43.78) and Argentina’s Belén Casetta (9:44.46), who obtained her country’s sole medal of the event.
Four more titles for USA
The US was the most successful nation of the event with seven gold medals, four of them coming on Saturday. Chronologically speaking, Gwen Berry provided the first with her victory in the hammer throw with 74.62m. The 30-year-old, world ranked No.4, took the lead in round five with 72.88m and extended it with her final attempt. Her compatriot Brooke Andersen, world ranked No.8, threw 71.07m on her first attempt and didn’t improve. Venezuela’s Rosa Rodríguez, the defending champion, was third with a season’s best of 69.48m. The last US athlete to win this event was Dawn Ellerbe in 1999.
Omar Craddock won the triple jump with 17.42m (wind -0.4 m/s). The 28-year-old Craddock, world ranked No.3 and coached by Al Joyner, was heavily challenged by Cuba’s Jordan Díaz. Craddock took the lead in the opening round with 17.13m. Díaz stole it with a season’s best of 17.19m in round two. Craddock responded with 17.19m with his second jump. The 18-year-old Díaz, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games champion and world ranked No.19, produced another season’s best of 17.38m (0.1) in round four, which gave him the lead for a few minutes until Craddock took it for good with the winning jump on his fifth attempt. The youngster closed with 17.18m and Craddock with a foul. Another Cuban, Andy Díaz, was third with 16.83m (-0.5). Mike Conley, back in 1987, was the last USA athlete to win this event.
The men’s pole vault provided the third US medal of the day. Chris Nielsen, world ranked No.9, cleared 5.76m on his third attempt to obtain the victory. Brazil’s Augusto Dutra de Oliveira was second with 5.71m, while USA’s Clayton Fritsch was third with 5.61m. The reigning Olympic champion, Brazil’s Thiago Braz da Silva, was fourth with 5.51m. The US dominated this event producing 13 victories in the first 14 editions. However, they had last won it in 2003, through Toby Stevenson.
The final US triumph of the day came in the women’s 4x400m relay. Lynna Irby, Jaide Stepter, Anna Cockrell and Courtney Okolo clocked 3:26.46 to beat Canada (3:27.01) in the home straight. Jamaica was third with 3:27.61.
Brazil’s sixth gold medal came in the men’s 3000m steeplechase through Altobeli da Silva, who was second at 5000m. The 28-year-old from Catanduva, São Paulo, an Olympic finalist in 2016, was always in control in a slow race up to 2000m (5:49.64). With a last kilometre covered in 2:41.09, da Silva won with a season’s best of 8:30.73. On an all-South American podium, Colombia’s Carlos Andrés Sanmartín was second with a personal best of 8:32.24, while Mario Bazán, third with 8:32.34, obtained the only medal for Peru in a track and field event at these games, after three on the roads.
Brathwaite edges Crittenden in hurdles showdown
Barbados’ Shane Brathwaite took the 110m hurdles to win his country’s first ever gold (at any sport) in the games with 13.31 (+1.8). The 29-year-old, a finalist at the 2017 World Championships, narrowly edged USA’s Freddie Crittenden (13.32). Brazil’s Eduardo de Deus was third with 13.48. Two pre-race medal hopefuls had technical problems, hitting hurdles and dropping out. Brazil’s Gabriel Constantino, world ranked No.8, fell at the sixth hurdle and USA’s Jarred Eaton, world ranked No.18, dropped out after the fourth.
In the day’s final event, Colombia (Jhon Alejandro Perlaza, Diego Palomeque, Jhon Alexander Solis and Anthony Zambrano) took the men’s 4x400m relay in 3:01.41, a season’s best. USA was second in 3:01.72 and Trinidad and Tobago was third with 3:02.25.
Villanueva and Ordonez take 50km race walk titles
Ecuador's Claudio Villanueva and Johana Ordonez of Ecuador cruised to their respective titles in the 50km race walk on Sunday (12), the final athletics events on the Pan-American Games programme.
Second just a step behind Mexico's Horacio Nava at the midway point, Villanueva took command with a slight advantage by 30 kilometres and was walking alone by the 40th kilometre en route to a decisive win in 3:50:01.
Nava held on to take silver in 3:51:45, more than two minutes clear of Colombia's Diego Pinzon, who took bronze in 3:53:49.
Ordonez, the South American Championships silver medallist last year, was even more dominant in the women's race, pulling away from Guatemala's Mirna Ortiz by the 40th kilometre on her way to a 4:11:12 victory in the event's inaugural running at these Games.
Ortiz was second in 4:15:21 to take silver. Ecuador's Paolxa Perez, who took bronze in the 20km four years ago, was third again, clocking 4:16:54.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF