Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas produced one of the most impressive performances of the 18th edition of the Pan-American Games, winning the triple jump with a 15.11m leap, a world leader, Games’ and national record on Friday (9) to highlight day four action at Lima’s Estadio de la Videna.
The 23-year-old from Caracas, world ranked No.2 and the 2017 world champion, was totally dominant over a quality field that didn’t include the 2016 Olympic champion and 2011 and 2015 Pan-Am Games winner, Catherine Ibargüen. The 35-year-old Colombian, world ranked No.1, decided not to compete in this event in Lima, where she only contested the long jump (and finished fifth with 6.54m on 6 August).
Rojas, who was fourth four years ago in Toronto, delivered an impressive series, in spite of the evening’s cold conditions. She produced three measured jumps, reaching 14.90m (0.7 m/s) on her first, 14.67m (-0.1) with her third and her 15.11m winner with her fourth. Her final effort, a foul by about seven centimetres, was a very long one, in the 15.50m area, which indicates that the tall Venezuelan could jeopardize the 24-year-old world record of 15.50 set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets on 10 August 1995 in Gothenburg. The leap also added five centimetres to her previous career best set in Huelva, Spain, on 20 June.
Rojas’ medal is only the second athletics gold by a Venezuelan woman in Pan-American Games history. Jamaica’s Shanieka Rickets, world ranked No.3, was second with a personal best of 14.77m (0.7 m/s), also after a solid series: foul, 14.76m (0.7), 14.76m (1.2), 14.43m (1.0) and 14.77m. Cuba’s Liadagmis Povea, world ranked No.4, was third with 14.60m (-0.6).
More honours for Fraser-Pryce
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, one of the most successful athletes of this time, added the Pan-American Games 200m title to her illustrious collection with a 22.43 (-0.1 m/s) performance to break the previous games record of 22.45 set by USA’s Evelyn Ashford in 1979.
The 32-year-old from Kingston, world ranked No.2 at 100m, and multiple Olympic and world champion, dominated the race entirely, running a smooth curve and finishing off with her traditional and powerful stride, even relaxing a bit over the last 10 metres.
“I want to think that I’m much better at 100m, but the 200m represent a bigger challenge for me”, said Fraser-Pryce, whose hair coloured green for the occasion. “I’m working on getting better at 200m and I’m also very happy to win this title for my country. I knew it was cold, but it was cold for everyone, not just for me, so I just wanted to execute the first 100m like my coach told me to do. Now, I thank god that I finished healthy and I can go back home and put on some more training.” Fraser-Pryce dedicated the victory to her son Zyon, who celebrated his second birthday a couple of days before the final.
Fraser-Pryce’s victory was, curiously enough, the first for Jamaica at the Pan-American Games. Brazil’s Vitória Rosa, world ranked No.16, was second with a personal best of 22.62, while Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither was third with 22.76.
Thomas-Dodd improves to 19.55m
Jamaica tops the medal table entering the final day of track and field. Danniel Thomas-Dodd provided the sixth gold for the Caribbean nation by winning the shot put with 19.55m, setting a new games and national record. Thomas-Dodd, world ranked No.4, achieved the winning mark in her final throw of the day with the victory already assured. Her gold was also the first for her nation at this event. Canada’s Brittany Crew was second with a personal best and national record of 19.07m, while USA’s Jessica Ramsey was third with a season’s best of 19.01m.
Three more gold medals for Brazil..
Brazil also had a good day, producing three victories and reaching five gold medals in all, second in the table. The South American nation won both 4x100m relays and the men’s 10,000m through Éderson Pereira.
The women’s team of Andressa Fidelis, Vitória Rosa, Lorraine Martins and Rosângela Santos was the most consistent at each exchange and clocked 43.04, a season’s best, to win the Games’ title for second time. Canada was second with 43.37, also a season’s best, ahead of the US who clocked 43.39.
In the men’s 4x100m, Brazil won for the fifth time in the last six games. Rodrigo do Nascimento, Jorge Henrique Vides, Derick de Souza and Paulo André de Oliveira clocked 38.27, beating Trinidad and Tobago (season’s best of 38.46) and the US (38.79).
In the 10,000m, Pereira delivered a strong kick over the last 1000m (2:37) to win with a personal best of 28:27.47. The field covered the first half in 14:12.33, pushed by USA’s Lawi Lalang, who took control of the pace for the greater part of the race to eventually finish third with 28:31.75, just behind compatriot Reid Buchanan (28:28.41). Pereira’s title is the third by a Brazilian at the distance.
..and two more for USA
The US team added two gold medals on Friday. Kara Winger triumphed in the women’s javelin with a season’s best of 64.92m, her best performance since 2015. Winger, the US record holder and world ranked No.8, threw beyond 60 metres with each of her efforts: 63.31m, 64.92m, 62.78m, 63.23m, 61.15m and 62.50m. The 33-year-old reversed the finish from Toronto 2015, where she was second behind Canada’s Liz Gleadle. This time Gleadle threw 63.30m, while Ariana Ince, the 2019 US champion, was third with 62.32m.
The second US gold for the day (and third of the athletics competition) came through Nikki Hiltz, who won the women’s 1500m in 4:07.14. Hiltz, world ranked No.30 and third at the recent US national championships, covered the last 300m in 47 seconds to outkick Jamaica’s Aisha Praught (4:08.26) and Alexa Efraimson, also from the US (4:08.63). The last US athlete to win this event was Marla Runyan in 1999.
Mexico’s Laura Galván, who finished fourth at 1500m with a personal best of 4:10.53, returned to the track 40 minutes later, to win the 5000m in 15:35.47, providing the third gold for Mexico. Profiting from her speed, the 27-year-old Galván ran the last kilometre in 2:54 to beat Canada’s Jessica O’Connell (15:36.08) and USA’s Kimberley Conley (15:36.95).
After a slow first part of his race, Alex Quinonez ran a formidable straight to take the men’s 200m title in 20.27 (-1.0). The 29-year-old Ecuadorian, world ranked No.4, obtained the first gold for his country in a track event, the eight overall and second of these Games. Panama’s Alonso Edward lead up to 120 metres, but faded to fourth in 20.55. Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards was second with 20.38, with Dominican Republic’s Yancarlos Martínez third in 20.44.
Cuba added its fifth medal of these Games through Luis Zayas. The 22-year-old won the hen’s high jump with a personal best of 2.30m. Zayas, the 2016 world U20 champion, came to the contest with a personal best of 2.27m and a season’s best of 2.25m.
Canada’s Michael Mason, who has topped 2.31m this season and is world ranked No.4, was second with 2.28m. Mexico’s Roberto Vilches was third with 2.26m.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF