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Games-U.S., Mexico take two gold medals each in Pan-Am rowing
CIUDAD GUZMAN, Mexico |
CIUDAD GUZMAN, Mexico (Reuters) - The United States and hosts Mexico took two rowing gold medals apiece on Tuesday while Argentina notched up their fourth in two days of Pan-American finals at Lake Zapotlan.
American Margot Shumway won the single sculls before Robert Otto and Michael Gennaro took a tight coxless pairs race ahead of Brazil's Joao Borges Junior and Cuban-born 42-year-old Alexis Mestre with Canada third.
Argentina's men's quadruple sculls rowed a brilliant second kilometer to edge favorites Cuba by half a second in an exciting race to give 35-year-old Santiago Fernandez, fourth in single sculls at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, his second Pan-Am gold medal. The winners' time was five minutes 51.20 seconds to Cuba's 5:51.69.
The Cubans -- Javier Concepcion, Yoennis Hernandez, Eduardo Rubio and Adrian Oquendo -- were so disappointed by their failure to finish first that they did not join in the traditional embrace with the other competitors for photos on the podium including bronze medal winners Mexico.
The home nation had a memorable day on the lake close to Ciudad Guzman on a morning that started chilly and cloudy with the threat of choppy waters but turned into another bright, sunny day at the two-week Games which began on Friday.
Mexican pair Analicia Ramirez and Lila Perez Rul won emphatically from Cuba with the U.S. third in the women's lightweight doubles sculls to wild celebrations from the lakeside crowd, as they punched the air in delight.
Cheering was equally loud for the victory of Gerardo Sanchez and Alan Armenta in the men's equivalent race, but they looked totally drained by the effort in consigning Cuba to their third second place of the day.
The Mexicans won despite having to change boats after they were hit by Brazil before the start, the race postponed from the first to the last of the morning.
Shumway took the single sculls ahead of Argentina's Maria Gabriela Best, also the silver medalist in Rio de Janeiro four years ago, with Canada's Isolda Penney third.
"It's interesting racing at altitude, I've never been at altitude before, I live in Washington DC," said Shumway. "It had an impact initially when we got here but you adapt to whatever condition, no matter where you are, altitude, rain or wind.
"I couldn't have asked for a better race day, it was perfect," she told Reuters.
"I saw Argentina charging and I knew she had a sprint and I kept my momentum and just said 'today's the day'. It was really close."
It was a third Pan-Am gold medal for Argentina's Fernandez, winner of the 2007 single sculls title.
Fernandez, Ariel Suarez and Cristian Rosso picked up their second gold medals of these Games in different winning boats on Monday.
(Editing by Steve Keating)
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