Monday, July 27, 2015

Medal Summary - 2015 Pan American Games

The 2015 Pan American Games have come and gone, and the biggest winners were Mexico and the USA. Mexico won four gold medals: Women's Singles (Paola Longoria), Women's Doubles (Longoria & Samantha Salas), Women's Team (Longoria & Salas) and Men's Team (Alvaro Beltran, Daniel De La Rosa & Javier Moreno), while the USA won two gold: Men's Singles (Rocky Carson) and Men's Doubles (Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas).

The four Mexican gold medals were repeats from four years ago in Guadalajara, as was the USA's gold in Men's Singles. But Mexico won Men's Doubles four years ago, while that went to the USA this year.

Eight countries won medals in Guadalajara, but only six did in Toronto. Argentina won two silver medals this year, but none in Guadalajara. However, the player responsible for the Argentine medals - Maria Jose Vargas - played for Bolivia four years ago, winning them two bronze medals.

Bolivia won a silver and two bronze medals despite losing its only medalist from four years ago, so that's an improvement. Canada also improved its medal haul, as they won three bronze medals on home soil one more than four years ago. Ecuador performed the same as four years ago: they won three bronze medals in Guadalajara and did so again in Toronto.

Chile, Colombia and Venezuela won medals in Guadalajara, but failed to do so in Toronto.

The 2019 Pan Am Games will be Lima, Peru.

2015 Pan American Games - Toronto, Canada

Medal Summary

Men's Singles

GOLD - Rocky Carson (USA)
SILVER - Alvaro Beltran (MEXICO)
BRONZE - Daniel De La Rosa (MEXICO), Conrado Moscoso (BOLIVIA)

Men's Doubles

GOLD - Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas (USA)
SILVER - Roland Keller & Conrado Moscoso (BOLIVIA)
BRONZE - Vincent Gagnon & Tim Landeryou (CANADA), Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno (MEXICO)

Men's Team

GOLD - MEXICO (Daniel De La Rosa, Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno)
SILVER - USA (Rocky Carson, Jake Bredenbeck, Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas)
BRONZE - CANADA (Coby Iwaasa, Mike Green, Vincent Gagnon & Tim Landeryou), BOLIVIA (Carlos Keller, Roland Keller & Conrado Moscoso)

Women's Singles

GOLD - Paola Longoria (MEXICO)
SILVER - Maria Jose Vargas (ARGENTINA)
BRONZE - Rhonda Rajsich (USA), Veronica Sotomayor (ECUADOR)

Women's Doubles

GOLD - Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (MEXICO)
SILVER - Véronique Guillemette & Maria Jose Vargas (ARGENTINA)
BRONZE - Veronica Sotomayor & Maria Paz Muñoz (ECUADOR), Rhonda Rajsich & Kim Russell-Waselenchuk (USA)

Women's Team

GOLD - MEXICO (Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas)
SILVER - USA (Rhonda Rajsich, Michelle Key, Kim Russell-Waselenchuk)
BRONZE - ECUADOR (Veronica Sotomayor & Maria Paz Muñoz), CANADA (Frédérique Lambert & Jennifer Saunders)

Country - Gold, Silver, Bronze = TOTAL

1. MEXICO - 4, 2, 1 = 7
2. USA - 2, 2, 2 = 6
3. ARGENTINA - 0, 2, 0 = 2
4. BOLIVIA - 0, 1, 2, = 3
5. CANADA - 0, 0, 3 = 3
5. ECUADOR - 0, 0, 3 = 3

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mexico wins gold in Men's Team event at 2015 Pan American Games

Mexico defeated the USA in two straight matches to capture gold in the Men's Team event at the 2015 Pan American Games, which is a repeat of their performance four years ago in Guadalajara. Sunday, Daniel De La Rosa defeated Jake Bredenbeck in the first match, 15-12, 15-12, and then in a repeat of this year's Men's Singles gold medal match, Alvaro Beltran defeated Rocky Carson, 15-12, 15-7.

De La Rosa and Bredenbeck was close early in game one, as they were tied at 6-6. Bredendbeck actually went ahead 7-6, but De La Rosa held him there and scored eight unanswered points to lead 14-7.

Credit to Bredenbeck for staging a comeback to get it within two at 14-12, but giving a player of De La Rosa's quality that large a lead is not good. De La Rosa won it with a forehand cross court shot from left to right.

In game two, Bredenbeck took the lead early at 7-2. But De La Rosa came back, and tied the game at 7-7. Then the Mexican got a bit of a lead and extended it to 14-8. Bredenbeck again came back to 14-12. At that point, De La Rosa took a timeout, and when play resumed he got the serve back, and scored the final point on a backhand down the line shot that was tight to the left wall. Bredenbeck dove to try to keep the ball in play, but his effort was in vain.

Carson confirmed after the match that he suffered a hand injury, saying "I dove, and I put my hand down, and my thumb was pointing straight down. When I landed I felt it go back."

He was hoping it was just a sprain, but "when I pushed on it my joint didn't hurt but my thumb was moving. I think underneath my nail I probably broke the last bone of my thumb," said Carson.

Whenever someone takes that much injury time, there's a question of how effective he or she will be when play resumes. But Carson was effective in game one, and Beltran expected nothing less.

"I knew Rocky is a warrior and it takes more than that for him to quit a match," said Beltran after, adding "I knew I had to focus on my game. Trying to play the best I could."

Carson kept the score close the whole way in game one. In fact, Carson led late at 11-9.

But Beltran tied it at 11-11, then edged ahead to 13-11, and got to game point at 14-12. Carson fought off three game points, but on the fourth, his forehand cross court shot was parried down the line by Beltran.

In game two, Beltran took an early lead at 5-1, and although Carson came back to 5-4, he never tied it, as Beltran went out to lead 10-5, and win 15-7. He won the last points with lob nick serves to the left - Carson's backhand.

Coming in to the match Carson said "I felt good. I was really looking forward to playing today, and playing hard." But after the injury that was difficult.

"Not that I didn't play hard," despite the injury said Carson, "but I couldn't swing hard because I couldn't grab the racquet, couldn't feel the racquet that well either."

So, Carson adjusted, and thought "just stick with fundamentals put pressure on him. If he hits a shot, he hits a shot. But I got to at least make him make shots, and if I can do that then it gives me a chance. And it gave me a chance," said Carson.

But "Alvaro knows how to play racquetball," said Carson, adding "he knows how to win. Credit to him. Some other guys I might have been able to pull out of their game more. It wasn't like I was playing that bad of racquetball. I just didn't have a lot of offence to throw at him."

It seemed Carson's injury was effecting him more in game two, as he wasn't as effective as he had been earlier in the tournament, or even game one. But Carson attributed that to Beltran. "I think he just understood, seeing the shots that I was able to execute and what I couldn't. I couldn't be pinpoint. especially from the back court. I didn't have the power to get it by him. It was really hard to make it perfect without the pace."

Beltran said his "strategy was to be aggressive. Not let him prolong rallies. He's in top shape. He's in better shape than me. I knew I had to play my game. I had be aggressive and to make rallies shorter. That was my strategy, and it worked."

Asked about his condition coming into the day, Beltran said "I had a back spasm yesterday. I've been playing a lot of racquetball." How he feels tomorrow could but a different story, but "right now I'm just so happy, enjoying this medal, you don't feel the pain."

"I think tomorrow … my body will tell me that I'm 36," said Beltran.

Beltran's age - and Moreno's who's 39 - could be a factor in whether Mexico can win the Men's Team event four years from now in Lima, Peru, as Beltran will be 40 then, and Moreno 43. However, De La Rosa's only 22, and if some of the other young Mexican players can raise their skill levels, Mexico could well win again in Peru.

2015 Pan American Games - Toronto, Canada

Men's Team - Final

2) MEXICO (Daniel De La Rosa, Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno) d. 1) USA (Rocky Carson, Jake Bredenbeck, Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas), 2-0

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Mexico wins gold in Women's Team event at 2015 Pan American Games

Mexico won the Women's Team event at the 2015 Pan American Games, just as they did four years ago in Guadalajara. Mexico only needed wins in the two singles matches, as Samantha Salas defeated Michelle Key, 15-3, 15-9, and Paola Longoria beat Rhonda Rajsich, 15-6, 15-12. The doubles match was unnecessary.

Salas dominated Key in game one, and was up 10-2 in game two. But then the American came back to trail by only one at 10-9. But Key couldn't tie it, as Salas went on to win 15-9, giving Mexico the early advantage.

In game one of the second match, Longoria was in control early, as she went up 8-2. Although Rajsich never really cut into that lead, she certainly made Longoria work for every point. Twenty five rallies went by and only eight points were scored with Longoria still leading 12-6.

But from there, Longoria quickly ended it with points three straight rallies for 15-6.

In game two, Longoria took an early lead again, going up 7-1. But Rajsich came back harder, got within one at 7-6, and then tied the game at 12-12. However, Longoria wanted a third gold to go with the two she won earlier in Toronto, and she closed out the game, 15-12.

The win completes a Mexican gold medal sweep in women's events at the 2015 Pan Am Games with Longoria winning three gold - Women's Singles, Women's Doubles with Salas and Sunday the Women's Team event. Her three medals from Toronto will go with the three she won in Guadalajara four years ago.

Longoria is only 26, having had her birthday last Monday, so she may be able to win gold again four years from now in Lima, Peru.

2015 Pan American Games - Toronto, Canada

Women's Team

Final

1) MEXICO (Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas) d. 3) USA (Rhonda Rajsich, Michelle Key, Kim Russell-Waselenchuk), 2-0

Follow the bouncing ball....