The Santiago 2023 Pan American Games have hit the midway mark. Though Saturday’s schedule was a little lighter, Team Canada’s medal count did grow by one. There are also several athletes with their eyes squarely set on a podium finish for Sunday.
Here’s a look at the headlines:
Judo: Frascadore fights to silver medal
In Team Canada’s lone medal opportunity of the day, Julien Frascadore came through to win silver in the men’s 66kg event. His first three bouts all went to golden score time. Frascadore won each of them by Hansoku-make after his opponents all took a third Shido (penalty). In the final, he faced Venezuela’s Willis Garcia Estrada, who quickly got the upper hand. It took just 40 seconds for Garcia Estrada to throw Frascadore on his back, resulting in Ippon and an immediate end to the match.
“Right after the final it’s hard to accept. It’s hard to lose like that but I think with time I’ll appreciate this medal, I’ll be happy with the result,” said Frascadore. “I fought him once before, it was almost the same result so I knew he was pretty strong in the first two minutes, but I didn’t manage to do the strategy this time.”
This is Frascadore’s second medal at a multi-sport games in 2023. In early August, he won gold for Canada at the Jeux de la Francophonie in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He had also won gold at the Panamerican-Oceania Championships in September.
Equestrian: Canada positioned for podium and Olympic qualification
After the dressage team secured Canada’s spot in that discipline for Paris 2024, the eventing team is poised to do the same. Following the first two days of competition, the Canadian quartet of Michael Winter (riding El Mundo), Colleen Loach (riding Fe Golden Eye), Lindsay Traisnel (riding Bacyrouge), and Karl Slezak (riding Hot Bobo) sits in third place behind the United States and Brazil.
There are two Olympic spots available in team eventing, but the United States is already qualified after winning the silver medal at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships.
On Friday, Canada placed second in the dressage portion of the competition. Saturday featured the cross-country portion, in which Traisnel and Slezak had clean runs in the allotted time, helping them to sit fifth and sixth in the individual standings. The team stands at a total score of 105.2, which puts them just behind Brazil at 101.5. The United States leads with 86.2. Argentina is in fourth place, but well back at 194.1. The eventing competition will conclude on Sunday with the jumping test.
Tennis: Marino to play for bronze medal
Rebecca Marino will play for the bronze medal in women’s singles following her semifinal loss to Argentina’s Lourdes Carle on Saturday. Unfortunately for Marino, her opponent got on a roll early and won the first set 6-1 in just 27 minutes as she converted three of four break point opportunities. Marino was able to make more of a game of it in the second set, which lasted almost an hour, but still fell 6-4.
“My opponent is definitely a solid clay courter, she hit the ground running and didn’t give me much room to breathe or to try to find my game,” said Marino. “So my primary goal was to try to be a little more aggressive as the match continued and find my footing, find my confidence. I felt like I did a good job of that but it was just a little too late.” Marino will face another Argentine, 21-year-old Julie Riera, in Sunday’s bronze medal match.
Canoe/Kayak Slalom: Canadians paddle to semis
Four Canadians have advanced to the semifinals of the men’s and women’s C-1 and K-1 events. Lois Betteridge placed second in the women’s C-1 heats while Léa Baldoni was ranked third after the women’s K-1 heats. Her brother Alex Baldoni was ranked third in the men’s C-1 heats and Maël Rivard was fourth in the men’s K-1 heats.
The semifinals and finals in all four of those events will go on Sunday, along with the semifinals and finals of kayak cross, a discipline that will make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024. Alex Baldoni and Betteridge will compete in the next phase of the men’s and women’s kayak cross after they placed first and third, respectively, in Friday’s time trials.
“After two races I’m feeling a bit tired, but I feel good,” said Léa, the older of the Baldoni siblings. “Lots of good feelings on the water, it was smooth. Technically, too, it was good. I’m excited for tomorrow, the semifinals and the final, it’s gonna be fun.”