Historic day for Mexican rowing at Pan Am Games
19/10/2011 - 13:39:00
An emotional day of ups and downs awaited the large crowd of rowing enthusiasts at Ciudad Guzman, site of the 2011 Pan American Games rowing regatta in Mexico.
Fine weather with a following breeze and sunshine showed the new regatta centre in its full beauty. As crews launched from the two new boat houses, expectations were high for a Mexican podium finish. Tragedy stuck with just minutes left in the pre-race warm up of the first race, when the Mexican lightweight men’s double sculls were involved in a collision and a broken oar in the warm up area. Subsequently, the race was rescheduled by officials to be raced at the end of the regatta.
The final of the women’s single sculls then got under way and saw United States sculler, Margot Shumway win in a time of 7:53.05 over Argentinean sculler Maria Best (7:55.55) and Canada's Isolda Penny who finished third in 8:06.88.
The lightweight women’s dynamic duo from Mexico then provided the start of the medal rush for the host nation, Mexico. Lightweight women’s double sculls crew members Analicia Ramierez and Lila Perez Rul became national heroes by winning gold in a time of 7:16.04 over Cuba (7:17.77) and the United States (7:18.88). This was the first gold medal for Mexico in 20 years of competition at the Pan American Games.
The big men from the United States, Robert Otto and Michael Gennaro powered down the course in the men's pair final in a tough battle for gold with Brazil (Joao Borges Junior and Alexis Mestre) and Canada (Steven Van Knotsenburg and Peter McClelland). Otto and Gennaro were victorious in a time of 6:47.07, to Brazil in 6:48.74 and in third position Canada in a time of 6:50.80. Mexico, Cuba and Chile filled the minor positions.
The Argentinean men were hot favorites alongside Cuba in the men’s quadruple sculls. In a fast start in fast conditions, the fight went stroke for stroke with Mexico, Venezuela and Uruguay edging forward over the 2000m course. But it was the Argentinean quad that continued their nation’s success of the previous day. In a split second decision of just 0.49 of a second, Argentina overcame Cuba on the line with a time of 5:51.2. Cuba finished in 5:51.69 and third was Mexico in a time of 5:59.58. Venezuela, Uruguay and the United States filled out 4th, 5th and 6th positions respectively.
The rescheduled lightweight men’s double sculls proved to be a thriller. Although the crowd had to wait of some 60 minutes for this race, they came alive as a second victory for Mexico looked to be unfolding.
Conditions on the water had become more difficult during the delay. However President of the Jury (Kris Grudt, USA) and Technical Delegate Matt Draper (AUS) viewed the conditions as fair yet difficult. Mexico’s crew of Gerado Sanchez and Alan Armenta raised their final 250m sprint to well over 40 strokes per minute to finally overcome the Cuban double of Eyder Batista and Yunior Perez and the valiant Canadians, Travis King and Terence McKall. The times were world class:
First: Mexico, 6:24.52
Second: Cuba 6:27.07
Third: Canada 6.29.27.
The United States, Brazil and Argentina filled the minor placings.
Although the United States and Mexico left today’s racing with two gold medals each, day two of finals had proved to be Mexico’s golden day. National Federation President Pedro Cuervo, commented, “It’s a great day for the development of rowing in Mexico and in particular the Guzman area. “
The final day of racing in Guzman, 19 October, 2011, will see the battle for gold in the lightweight men’s four, lightweight women’s single, women’s quadruple sculls, men’s single sculls and the final race to close rowing at the 2011 Pan American Games – the men’s eight.
After two days of finals the gold medal count is: Argentina 4, United States 2, Mexico 2, Cuba 1.
Report thanks to Matt Draper.