Day 11 at Santiago 2023: Philibert-Thiboutot strides to silver, more Team Canada medals guaranteed
We’re over halfway through the Pan Am Games and Team Canada keeps delivering!
Charles Philibert-Thiboutot led the way on Tuesday, winning Team Canada’s medal in athletics. There are medals guaranteed to come in table tennis and squash. And another equestrian team is closing in on a coveted ticket to Paris 2024.
Here are some of the top stories from Day 11:
Athletics: First Canadian medal on the track
Philibert-Thiboutot maintained steady positioning around third place as a slower pace saw all eight athletes remain bunched together until 600 metres to go. He managed to hold off a charging Altobeli Da Silva from Brazil at the line.
While Philibert-Thiboutot (14:48.02) was the third runner to cross the line, what looked to be a bronze medal was upgraded to silver minutes later when Fernando Martinez of Mexico, who crossed the line first, was disqualified for obstruction and jostling.
The DQ moved American Kasey Knevelbaard (14:47.69) into the gold medal spot and rewarded Da Silva (14:48.18) with the bronze.
“It was a very strategic race,” Philibert-Thiboutot said afterwards. “Today, the goal was not to run fast, it was just to be within the top three during the race, fight for my position, and then in the last lap make sure I was in a good position to go for gold. I was just missing a bit in that last 100m kick, but in terms of execution I’m pretty happy with it.”
In other athletics news, Keira Christie-Galloway advanced to the final of the women’s 100m hurdles after placing third in her semifinal with a time of 13.36.
“I was really excited and kind of anxious to get my legs going,” Christie-Galloway said post-race. “But I got in the blocks and I was like ‘I know how to do this, I’ve done it before’ and I was just confident in the races I’ve done.” The final will take place tomorrow.
Table Tennis: Zhang and Wang advance to semis
After a 4-1 win in the 1/8 final to start her day, Zhang defeated American Amy Wang 4-0 (11-7, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3) in the quarterfinals of women’s singles.
“I found the way to play her and kept going with that,” Zhang said post-match. She will next match up against Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico in what Zhang says is likely to be “a really tough match.” The winner of that semifinal will play for gold while the loser will take home bronze. Zhang was the gold medallist in her first Pan Am Games at Guadalajara 2011.
On the men’s singles side, Wang also got a 4-1 win in his 1/8 final before taking down Nicolás Burgos of Chile 4-2 (7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7) in the quarterfinals. The Canadian was unfazed by the enthusiastic crowd rooting for the hometown favourite.
“He has some special tricks that are unique compared to other players,” Wang said. “The first set I was not used to it, but by the second set I was able to adapt.”
He will face Andy Pereira Diaz of Cuba in Wednesday’s semifinals. Wang won singles bronze at both Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019.
Equestrian: Promising first day of jumping
After the dressage and eventing teams secured Olympic qualification, the Canadian jumping team embarked on their first day of competition with sights set on doing the same.
Team Canada — composed of Beth Underhill (riding Nikka Vd Bisschop), Mario Deslauriers (riding Emerson), Amy Millar (riding Truman) and Tiffany Foster (riding Figor) — is sitting in third place after round one of the team competition. Their score of 9.62 put them behind Team Brazil (4.32) and Team Colombia (7.29). There are three Olympic spots available for team jumping at the Pan Am Games. Team Brazil is already qualified for Paris 2024 via the FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final. The team competition concludes tomorrow.
In the individual competition, Millar leads the Canadians, sitting in fifth place after day one. Deslauriers is 12th, followed immediately by Underhill in 13th. Foster sits 17th. The individual jumping competition wraps up on Friday.
Squash: Naughton through to semis
Hollie Naughton is guaranteed a medal in women’s singles. She defeated Meagan Best of Barbados 3-2 (11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 7-11. 11-3) in the quarterfinals to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals. She’ll face American Olivia Fiechter. The winner will move on to play for gold while the loser will take home bronze.
Naughton won singles bronze four years ago at Lima 2019. She came into Santiago as the third seed while Fiechter is the second seed. Naughton won gold at the Pan Am Championships this past summer.
Softball: Team Canada notches second win
Team Canada’s women’s softball team triumphed 10-10 over Team Peru in five innings. Canada limited Peru to only two base runners, allowing just one hit, while recording seven strikeouts.
Seventeen-year-old Morgan Reimer stepped up as the starting pitcher for the Canadians and went three innings. Veteran player Larissa Franklin, who was a member of the bronze medal-winning team at Tokyo 2020, says that part of her motivation to keep playing is to witness the development of the next generation of Team Canada.
“To be able to see their energy, their excitement, to see them really step on the big stage and do what they always do and meet their potential is fun,” Franklin said. “Morgan was very composed and I’m super proud of her.”
Team Canada has won their first two games of the tournament, after besting Cuba 4-0 on Sunday. Up next, Canada will face 2-0 Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon to finish the group stage.
Water Polo: Dominant wins for women and men
The Canadian women’s and men’s water polo teams both came away from their matchups with Cuba on Tuesday with wins. The women started the day with a dominant 24-3 victory. Later in the afternoon, the men put up the same number of goals, winning 24-6.
“It definitely went better than yesterday,” Wright said post-game, referring to Team Canada’s tighter 14-9 victory against Argentina on Monday in their first game of the tournament. “Yesterday we started off a bit slower, we had those nerves, so today we came in more ready and I think that showed in the first quarter.”
The Canadian women close out their group stage on Wednesday morning against Mexico.
On the men’s side, Team Canada is also 2-0 after opening with a 28-4 win against host Chile on Monday. In their second game, four players — Bogdan Djerkovic, Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, Jérémie Coté, and Reuel D’Souza — each scored three goals.
“Playing against a different batch of players every game, it exposes you to different play styles, different defenses, different offenses–it gets you used to more international polo,” 18-year-old Leo Hachem said post-match, “It’s especially good for a guy like me [without much international experience].”
The winners of the women’s and men’s water polo tournaments will qualify directly for Paris 2024.
Sailing: Douglas maintains podium position
Over at the Cofradía Náutica Del Pacífico, Canadian sailors have been in action on the water.
After six races, Sarah Douglas is in second place in the ILCA 6. She won today’s lone race in the class. With eight points, she is just two back of the leader, American Erika Reineke. Douglas has already qualified Canada a spot in the ILCA 6 class for Paris 2024 thanks to her performance at the World Sailing Championships this summer.
Lee Parkhill is in second in the men’s Sunfish, a non-Olympic class, after six races. He recorded his third race win today and is one point back of the leader. Canada is third overall in the Lightning, also a non-Olympic class. The crew of Luke Ramsay, Rachel Green, and Jessica Hirschbold has 14 points, three back of second place and three up on fourth place.
The sailing competition continues until Saturday.
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