7 August 2003
Gold for Sánchez
World champion hurdler Félix Sánchez delighted the home crowds
yesterday as he became the first Dominican athlete to win a gold medal
in these 2003 Pan Am Games. Sánchez joins the ranks of Felipe Rojas
Alou (baseball-1955), Joan Guzmán (boxing-1995) and Wanda Rijo
(weightlifting-1999), all previous gold-medal winners. Sánchez, who
achieved a new continental record of 48.19 seconds in the 400m hurdles,
later admitted to having felt “nervous” during the race. “This is
something better, for the public and for me, and for history, because
my name has been written, the first gold medal in the Pan American
games for a Dominican athlete”, said an emotional Sánchez after the
event. A crowd of more than 35,000 fans attended the race at the Juan
Pablo Duarte Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo, fulfilling Sánchez’
hopes to perform for a full stadium. Some of the spectators paid the
entrance fee, but many more were admitted for free, in order to fill
the empty seats.
Basketball gold for Brazil, silver for DR
The Brazilian team took the gold in the basketball tournament, beating
the Dominican Republic by 89-62.
Baseball - Nicaragua beats DR
In baseball, Nicaraguan President Enrique Bola?os looked on as his
national team beat the Dominican Republic by a score of 2-0. Panama
beat Mexico by 7-0.
In soccer, Brazil defeated the Dominican Republic 5-0 in the first ever
meeting of the two teams.
Dominicans win at volleyball
The Dominican women’s volleyball team, Central American champions at
the San Salvador Games last year, beat Venezuela 3-0 in the first round
of the tournament.
Dominican women have also made progress in the softball tournament,
with a victory over Puerto Rico.
Gymnastics – López has “Midas touch”
Cuban gymnast Eric López is earning accolades such as “the best in the
history of the Americas” for his gold medal-winning performances in
various gymnastic events, including the parallel bars, rings and
vaulting horse. His international career, which began in 1991, has
seen him win 18 gold medals in the Pan American Games. The 30-year-old
is tipped for Olympic glory in Athens 2004, after which he plans to
announce his retirement.
Top of the table
The United States, Canada and Cuba are the main contenders for winning
the most medals in the Pan American Games. The US has won 62 medals (27
gold), Cuba 41 (22 gold) and Canada 19 (5 gold). Other top medal
winners include Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela.
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