LIMA, Peru — Canada’s Genevieve Lalonde won the gold medal in the women’s 3,000-metre steeplechase and Marco Arop took gold in the men’s 800 metres Saturday at the 2019 Pan American Games.
Both athletes set Pan Am records in their respective events.
Arop, from Edmonton, finished in a personal-best time of one minute 44.48 seconds. Wesley Vazquez of Puerto Rico was second in 1:44.48 and Ryan Sanchez, also of Puerto Rico, was third in 1:45.19.
"I’m on top of the world right now," said Arop, who overtook Vazquez in the final straight. "It can’t get better than this."
The previous Pan Am record was 1:44.58, set by Cuba’s Yeimer Lopez in Rio de Janeiro in 2007.
"I don’t know what to think of that. Times were the last thing on my mind. I was just hoping to win a medal for Canada," Arop said. "To have a personal best and Pan Am Games record is just extra. That’s just a bonus right there."
Lalonde, from Moncton, N.B., raced to victory in a Pan Am-record time of 9:41.45.
Marisa Howard of the United States was second in 9:43.78 and Belen Casetta of Argentina was third in 9:44.46.
Brazil’s Tatiane Da Silva, who finished fourth, led the pack at the 1,000-metre mark. But Lalonde took over by the 2,000-metre and held on over the final third of the race.
Lalonde eclipsed the Pan Am record of 9:48.12 set by American Ashley Higginson set at the 2015 Games in Toronto.
"Representing Canada every time is just such an honour and every time I put that Canadian flag on, you want to do your best for your country so being able to bring home gold in a field like today’s, it definitely means a lot," she said.
The medals brought Canada’s athletics haul to five gold and 14 overall in Lima.
Canada settled for silver after losing 3-1 to the United States in the women’s grand final. Holly Speers of Surrey, B.C., drove in a run for Canada in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 1-1, but the Americans scored two in the bottom of the sixth and held Canada scoreless in the top of the seventh to come away with the win.
Brigitte Thibault of Rosemere, Que., shot a third round of 3-under 68 to move into medal contention in women’s individual competition. Thibault enters Sunday’s final round tied for fifth at 2 over, two shots back of third-place Paula Hurtado of Colombia and three back of second-place Julieta Granada of Paraguay. Emilia Migliaccio of the U.S. has a comfortable lead at 7 under. Mary Parsons of Delta, B.C., the first-round leader, struggled with a round of 4-over 75 and fell into a tie for seventh at 3 over.
In men’s competition, Austin Connelly, a dual Canadian-American citizen who competes for Canada, was in tied for sixth at 8 under and two shots off of third place after a round-best score of 6-under 65. Joey Savoie of La Prairie, Que., struggled to a third round of 5 over and was at 8 over through three rounds.
Michael Brodeur of Montreal finished fifth in the open kiteboarder.
Ha Thi Ngo of Vancouver was defeated in the women’s kata bronze-medal match by Venezuela’s Andrea Armada.