Parapans Preview Day One: 15 Golds up for Grabs

IPC Press Release: A total of 15 gold medals will be up for grabs on day one (13 November) of the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico as competition gets underway in seven sports. The first four medals to be awarded will be in the Time Trial Cycling events which will see athletes speeding through the streets of Guadalajara.

Two of the time trial races (Mixed Time Trial B & Mixed Time Trial C1-5) will see competitors complete two laps of the course in order to cover the 21.6km distance. The other two races (Mixed Time Trail H1-4 & T1-2) will see cyclists race round just one lap of the 10.8km course. With 30 cyclists from nine countries, the Mixed Time Trial C1-5 race will be contested by the largest field of the four races.

The remaining 11 gold medals on day one will be won from 16:00 in the Swimming competition at the Scotiabank Aquatics Centre. A total of 180 swimmers from 14 countries are competing in the pool over the next seven days in 85 medals events.

Goalball is expected to prove popular on Sunday with a number of mouth watering games. Of the five scheduled games, the rivalry between USA’s men and Canada is likely to make that fixture a tasty encounter, however the biggest draw of the day will be hosts Mexico against Brazil in the final men’s game of the day.

Vocal crowds are also expected at Wheelchair Basketball where four women’s and two men’s games will be played. Both Mexico’s women and men are in action against Guatemala and El Salvador respectively, although the best game of the day will arguably be Brazil against Canada in Group A of the women’s competition.

In Boccia, Table Tennis and the men’s singles of Wheelchair Tennis, the first games will be played in the individual competitions. The 2011 Parapan American Games has attracted 1,500 athletes from 24 countries who will compete in 13 different sports.

Parapan American Games Opening Ceremony Lights Up Guadalajara:

The 2011 Parapan American Games are now officially open after a stunning Opening Ceremony at the Telmex Athletics Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico on Saturday (12 November) evening. Around 1,500 athletes from the 24 competing countries attended the Ceremony together with dignitaries including International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven.

The Opening Ceremony was a celebration of the rich cultural history of Guadalajara and Jalisco, and also included a rock and pop concert featuring contemporary music. Three speeches marked the Opening of the Games and were delivered by Imelda Guzman, the President of the Organizing Committee for the Parapan Games, Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) President Octavio Londoño and Mexico’s Federal Director of Sports, Bernardo de la Garza, who had the honour of declaring the Games open.

In a stirring address, which included quotes from Columbian Nobel Prize in Literature winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez and references to the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities, APC President Octavio Londoño stated the important role sport plays in inclusion.

“Sport is a unique and noble expression of human greatness and generosity,” said Londoño. “Its diversity of colours and expressions teach us all that we can achieve the best through this wonderful tool that aims to leave no one out. “The history of this continent where we celebrate the meaning of life started here in Mexico. This is a celebration of inclusion, diversity and good examples.”

Since the first Parapan American Games 12 years ago involving 1,000 athletes competing in just four sports, the Games have continued to grow, a fact not lost on Londoño who believes they have further potential for growth.

“In 1999, Mexico City took the first step in the Parapan American journey and the dream continued growing in Mar Del Plata 2003, Rio de Janeiro 2007, and today once again in Mexico, with Guadalajara 2011. This city is as pretty as ever and also more welcoming and more inclusive than ever.

“From this land, we are sending a message to all of the American continent. Paralympic Sport will be a blossoming reality in the 42 countries that make up the Pan American sports community.” Londoño also told the assembled audience that Paralympic Sport is a key driver for inclusion and societal change.

“Everyone in America, including governments, leaders, business people, athletes and citizens should recognize sport as a tool that leads to peace, harmonious living, clean and fair competition amongst the best, and this tool must be inclusive and accessible to all. “The public agenda must give top priority to the significance of this: sport unites, and within it, there is room for the infinite diversity of the entire human race.”

The 2011 Parapan American Games is the last multi-sport event before the London 2012 Paralympic Games and will feature 13 sports.

Competitions gets underway in seven sports on Sunday when there will be 15 gold medals contested.

Mexico Delight Capacity Crowd on First Day of Parapans Swimming:

If the first day is anything to go by at the Scotiabank Aquatics Centre, then the swimming competition at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico could be something of a classic. On Sunday (13 November) 11 medals were up for grabs and in front of an extremely passionate sell-out crowd the swimmers did not disappoint with hosts Mexico winning the most medals – two gold, four silver and one bronze – seven in total.

In the first final of the day, there was something of a surprise as Cuba’s Lorenzo Perez (5:40.47) took gold by a whisker ahead of world number 10 Daniel Londono of Columbia (5:40.85). Brazil’s Adriano de Lima (5:51.76), the Americas Record holder at the distance, and many people’s favourite to win, claimed bronze

The crowd went wild in the second race of the day with chants of “Mexico, Mexico” as Vianney Trejo (6:03.28) set a personal best to secure gold for the host nation in the Women’s 400m Freestyle S6. Her teammates Doramitzi Gonzalez (6:25.95) and Karina Domingo Bello (6:32.11) ensured a clean sweep of the medals for Mexico.

Venezuela’s Alberto Vera Moran (1:15.39) had the pleasure of securing his country’s first gold of the Games in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke SB14. He led from start to finish to push the Canadian pair of Adam Rahier (1:17.77) and Maxime Rousselle (1:18.39) into silver and bronze respectively.

Mexico secured its second gold of the day in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB14 when Mariana Diaz de La Vega (1:27.69) stormed to victory. The race for second place was a stunner with Venezuela’s Viviana Moraes Barreto (1:30.79) holding off Canada’s Kirstie Kasko (1:30.80) by just 0.01 seconds.

Daniel Giraldo Correa (2:26.95) claimed Columbia’s first gold of the Games and set a new personal best in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM12.  He never looked in danger as he easily held off Argentina’s Ignancio Gonzalez (2:34.11) into silver and Brazil’s Renato Silva (2:42.47) into bronze.

The race of day in terms of sheer excitement was the Men’s 400m Freestyle S7. Brazil’s Ronaldo Santos led from the start, however buoyed on by a capacity crowd chanting and screaming his name, Mexico’s Enrique Perez drew level with Santos going into the last 25m. His late spurt was not enough though and Santos (5:26.45) took gold by a breath from Perez (5:26.98) silver. Canada’s Jean-Sebastien Lapointe (6:14.46) claimed bronze.

Soon after and Brazil claimed its second gold of the day in the Men’s 100m Backstroke S8 through Caio Oliveira (1:14.52) who set a personal best. Silver went to Canada’s Christopher Sergeant-Tsonos (1:17.48) and bronze Argentina’s Lucas Poggi (1:19.77). Argentina’s Sergio Zayas personal best (1:17.85) prevented Brazil taking three consecutive gold medals by narrowly winning the Men’s 100m Backstroke S11 ahead of Columbia’s Juan Buitrago Blanco (1:17.93). Bronze went to Yunerki Ortega (1:22.91)

Buoyed on by the success of his teammate Marco Pulleiro (1:05.99) then went and won Argentina’s second gold of the day in the Men’s 100m Butterfly S9. Silver went to Mexico’s Arturo Larraga (1:08.05) and bronze Brazil’s Vanilton Filno (1:09.45).

A surging last 50m and personal best by Anna Johannes (1:15.80) saw her come from behind to tie for gold with teammate Amanda Everlove (1:15.80) in the Women’s 100m Butterfly S9, USA’s only medals in the pool on Sunday. Bronze went to Argentina’s Daniela Gimenez (1:17.03).

The final race of the day saw Brazil (2:34.01) scoop its third gold of the day in the Men’s 4x50m Freestyle Relay 20pts to put them top of the swimming medals table after day one. Mexico (2:46.19) claimed silver and Argentina bronze (3:19.56). In total there are 85 medal events in seven days of swimming competition at the Parapan American Games involving 180 swimmers from 14 countries. Monday (14 November) will be the busiest day in the pool with 19 gold medals up for grabs.

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