Cleopatra Borel is the very first woman and only the sixth Trinidad and Tobago athlete in history to strike gold at the Pan American Games. She joins cycling’s triple gold medallist Roger Gibbon, swimming’s two-time champion George Bovell, two other cyclists, Leslie King and Gene Samuel, and weightlifter Rodney Wilkes.

Borel held off a spirited challenge from United States thrower Jillian Camarena-Williams at the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium in Toronto, Canada, yesterday to capture the women’s shot put title.

The T&T veteran’s winning effort of 18.67 metres came in round two. In the sixth and final round, Camarena-Williams came close to overhauling Borel, the American throwing the iron ball 18.65m to claim silver.

But in the end, it was a deserving victory for Borel. She had the best series on the day, bettering 18 metres with her first four throws – 18.39m, 18.67m, 18.56m and 18.24m. The Mayaro field athlete fouled her fifth attempt. And then, with the ninth T&T gold medal in the 64-year history of the Pan Am Games already assured, she threw 17.81m in round six.

Bronze went to Chile’s Natalia Duco with an 18.01m throw.

Borel now has a complete set of Pan Am Games medals--yesterday’s gold, silver in 2011, and bronze in 2007. She has joined an elite group of T&T athletes with three or more medals at the hemispheric Games.

Bovell is the “club president” with six medals—two gold, two silver, two bronze. Sprinter Mike Agostini has five medals--two silver, three bronze. Two of Agostini’s medals were captured for T&T at the 1955 Games, while the other three, including a 4x100m bronze, were earned as part of a British West Indies team four years later.

Gibbon is next on the list with three gold medals and a silver for a grand total of four. And Samuel is tied for fourth with Borel at three medals apiece. Samuel also has a complete set—gold, silver and bronze.

Keston Bledman finished just outside the medals in yesterday’s men’s 100 metres dash. The T&T sprinter clocked 10.12 seconds for fourth spot.

Canadian Andre De Grasse was golden in 10.05. Barbadian Ramon Gittens seized silver in 10.07, while bronze was bagged by St Kitts and Nevis athlete Antoine Adams in 10.09.

Earlier, Bledman won the first men’s century semifinal in 10.10 seconds.

Kelly-Ann Baptiste was fifth in the women’s 100m final, the T&T track star getting to the line in 11.05 seconds.

Sherone Simpson, running way out in lane eight, upset the field, the Jamaican grabbing gold in 10.95 seconds. Nineteen-year-old Ecuadorian Angela Tenorio stole silver with a personal best 10.99 run, forcing American Barbara Pierre to settle for bronze in 11.01.

In a close contest for fourth spot, Brazilian Rosangela Santos clocked 11.04 seconds to just get the better of Baptiste.

Canadian Khamica Bingham was sixth in 11.13, while seventh spot went to Brazil’s Claudia Ana Silva (11.15).

Another T&T sprinter, Semoy Hackett finished eighth in a season’s best 11.16 seconds.

In the semis, Baptiste topped heat one in a wind-aided 11.05 seconds, while Hackett was fifth in heat two in a windy 11.16. Hackett progressed to the championship race as a “fastest loser”.

T&T’s Sparkle McKnight finished fifth in the women’s 400m hurdles final. Coming off the final turn, McKnight was in contention for bronze, but faded on the home straight and finished outside the medals. Shamier Little stamped her class on the race, the American running away with gold in 55.50 seconds. Canadian Sarah Wells (56.17) and Uruguay’s Deborah Rodriguez (56.41) picked up silver and bronze, respectively.

Machel Cedenio and Jarrin Solomon square off against each other today in the 7.20pm men’s 400m final. Both T&T quartermilers progressed automatically from the semis.

Cedenio clocked 46.06 seconds to finish second in the second heat, while Solomon clocked 46.16 for third spot in the opening semi. Dominican Republic’s 2012 Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos won heat one in 45.72. And in heat two, Costa Rican Nery Brenes was home first in 45.85.

Cedenio has been drawn in lane six for the championship race, alongside Santos, in five. Solomon, however, will have his work cut out way out in lane eight.

Emanuel Mayers was third in the second of three men’s 400m hurdles semifinal heats. The T&T athlete crossed the line in 50.81 seconds to secure ninth spot overall, just missing out on the eight-man final.

Janeil Bellille bowed out of the women’s 400m event when she finished seventh in the opening semifinal in 54.41 seconds.

Deandra Daniel’s 1.75m clearance earned the T&T athlete 15th spot in the women’s high jump. St Lucia’s Levern Spencer topped the field with a 1.94m jump. Antigua’s Priscilla Frederick and Barbadian Akela Jones captured silver and bronze, respectively, both jumpers clearing the bar at 1.91m.

From 7.05 this evening, Quincy Wilson will battle for honours in the men’s discus. This morning, Reyare Thomas and Kamaria Durant run in the opening round of the women’s 200m. And in the men’s 200m, Kyle Greaux and Rondel Sorrillo will face the starter.

In men’s hockey, T&T square off against United States at 11.30am in a 5th to 8th playoff match. Late on Tuesday, T&T were blanked 3-0 by Canada in a quarterfinal fixture.

In a Pool “B” match-up, last Saturday, the Americans edged T&T 2-1.


Wednesday July 22nd, Toronto, Canada– Shot-putter and reigning Sportswoman of the year Cleopatra Borel won Trinidad and Tobago its first gold medal at this years Pan Am games, claiming the title with a throw of 18.67 metres. Borel had previously won silver and bronze at the 2011 and 2007 Pan Am Games respectively.  In winning gold, Borel becomes the first athlete to receive the gold medal bonus of US $3000 from the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) 10Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation fund.


Following the win in what is her last Pan Am Games Borel said, “It was a relief. I’m happy I achieved the goal of what my coach and I have been working towards. Now I have a complete set of medals, a bronze from Rio, Silver from Mexico and now Gold.”  Next up for her will be the World Championships, and Borel said tonight’s gold medal puts her in a good place with regards to her preparation.


Sprinters Keston Bledman, Kelly Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett were unable to add to Trinidad and Tobago’s medal haul despite impressive performances leading up to the 100m sprint final. Bledman ran faster in the semi finals, turning in a time of 10.10 in advancing. He ran a 10.12 in his fourth place finish in the men’s 100m final, which was won by Canadian Andre De Grasse in 10.05.


Baptiste won her semi final in 11.05, the exact same time she ran in the finals. Hackett also equalled her semi-final and seasons best time of 11.16 in the finals.


Following her semi final run Baptiste said, “My start really wasn’t on and it usually is but I executed my finish better than I have been doing in a while.” She echoed similar sentiments after the final saying, “I didn’t get a good start so it was difficult to take the lead in the end.”


In the women’s 400m hurdles final, quarter miler Sparkle McKnight also missed out on a medal finishing 5th in a time of 57.30. Following the race McKnight expressed disappointment saying, “I really wanted to win a medal but it didn’t happen so I just have to move forward.”


Earlier in the day fellow quarter milers Jarrin Solomon and World Junior Champion Machel Cedenio advanced to tomorrows men’s 400m final. Solomon qualified with a time of 46.16 while Cedenio ran 46.06. Of their performances Manager of the athletics team George Comissiong said “It feels good to have two athletes in the 400 final. We brought Jarrin in for Rennny Quow and that’s proven to be a good call thus far. Right now their times don’t matter because the aim today was just to qualify but I’ll be elated if they both medal.”


In the women’s 400m semi final Janeil Bellille finished 7th in a time of 54.41 and did not advance. After the race Bellille said, “I feel bad but it’s not my event so I’m not feeling too bad. I’ve already run the standards for worlds so that’s next.”

Competing in the men’s 400m hurdles, Emmanuel Mayers finished 3rd in semi final two in a time of 50.81 and did not advance to the finals. In the women’s high jump, Deandra Daniel finished 15th out of 16 competitors.


Track and field action continues tomorrow with the men’s 400m finals, men’s and women’s 200m qualifying, and the men’s discus final. In field hockey, the men’s team will take on the United States in the 5th -8th round match.

Tuesday July 21st, Toronto, Canada– Trinidad and Tobago’s medal hunt on the track got off to a blazing start with Keston Bledman, Semoy Hackett and Kelly Ann Baptiste advancing to the semi finals of the 100m sprint event.


Bledman won his heat comfortably in 9.95 saying, “It was a good race. The wind was nice; the atmosphere was nice so it feels good. I’m just coming here and trying to execute one step at a time.” There was a bit of drama for his compatriot Marcus Duncan who faced the starter in the previous heat. There appeared to be an echo on the gun 40m into the race, which caused two of the runners to stop. Duncan slowed down and then was forced to play catch up. The race was eventually recalled, but Duncan didn’t seem to have anything left in the tank.  He eventually finished 7th in a time of 10.52 and didn’t advance.


On the women’s side, Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett both qualified for the semi finals of the women’s 100m. Baptiste won her heat in 11.07 and said, “the aim was to qualify as easy as possible and I think I did that.” Hackett her roommate for this year’s Pan Am games ran a season’s best of 11.17 to advance to the next round.


In the quarter mile event, Sparkle McKnight won the first 400m hurdles heat in a season’s best time time of 56.56. Following the race she said, “It felt good, the wind was strong but I just wanted to win my heat and make it to the finals. I feel good about making the finals so I’m out to contend for a medal and do my best.” Her compatriot Joseanne Lucas finished seventh with an uncharacteristically slow time of 1:00:30 and did not advance.  Of her performance Lucas said, "I'm disappointed in the run. The race doesn't truly reflect my condition for the year. I'll just move on to the next one."


Triple Jumper Ayanna Alexander finished 8th in the women’s triple jump finals. Her furthest distance was 13.83. Over in the women’s 800m semfinal, Alena Brooks finished 5th in time of 2:07:84 and did not advance.


In field hockey, the men’s team lost 3-0 to Canada. The Men’s football team took an early lead in their final match versus Mexico, but could not hold on and went on to lose the game 4-2.


Track and field action continues tomorrow with the men’s 400m, semi-finals and finals for the 100m men and women, and the 400m hurdles final.

altOctober 30 - The 2011 Pan American Games drew to a conclusion exactly where it begun 17 days ago as the Omnilife Stadium staged a wonderful Closing Ceremony that embraced everything that is colourful, vibrant, passionate and exciting about the Mexican culture.

But perhaps the most telling moment of the event came when Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, the President of the Guadalajara 2011 Organising Committee and Governor of Jalisco, revealed the city will put forward a bid for the Olympics and Paralympics following the successful hosting of the Pan American Games.

"At this Pan American Games, we have built confidence, pride, recognition," said Marquez in a speech to the crowd.

"We trust in ourselves, in our ability and we work to do great things.

"Thanks for making these Pan American Games the great celebration of America."

A bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics is now on the cards, which would be the first time Mexico has hosted the Games since Mexico City in 1968.

"We have done things right here so now we go for the Olympics," said Marquez.

"Now we are on the Olympics and Viva Mexico!"

His speech was followed by Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) President Mario Vázquez Raña taking the microphone to declare the event officially closed; describing it as the best Pan American Games ever.

"We all know that the road to get here was long and very difficult to navigate but we got a firm foundation in the end," said Rana.

"A special thanks goes to Emilio Gonzalez Marquez.

"Thank you Governor and as President of the Organising Committee, congratulations on achieving the best Pan American Games in history.

"On behalf of the Pan American Sports Organisation, on October 30, 2011, I solemnly declare closed the sixteenth Pan American Games Guadalajara 2011.

"Thank you very much and see you in Toronto 2015."

The arena was unsurprisingly sold-out with 50,000 screaming Mexican fans crammed in to create a deafening atmosphere that proved the perfect complement to the event that unfolded in front of them.

The Ceremony began by showing highlights from the event before the athletes and officials entered as one to watch the speeches from the Marquez and Rana.

It was then that the Mexican theme of the Ceremony was halted temporarily as Toronto, who will host the next edition of the Pan American Games in 2015, took centre stage in what was a superb eight-minute segment from the Canadian city.

altIn an enthralling Handover Ceremony, that saw symbolically Guadalajara pass the PASO flag to the Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, a group of dancers entertained the crowd as images of Toronto's magnificent skyline, featuring the iconic CN Tower, were portrayed and Jazz singer Florence K sang the national anthem.

Shortly after, Jamaican group the Wailers took to the stage performing reggae music that delighted both the athletes and crowd in a string of performance that also saw Argentinian pop singer Diego Torres perform.

But the spectacular finale came as Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin emerged and bought the crowd to their feet with his exuberant single "Livin' la Vida Loca," the song that saw him catapult to international stardom back in 1999.

As Martin's electrifying performance ended, a colourful array of fireworks bought the Ceremony to an end as Mexico celebrated successfully hosting their biggest sporting event since the 1986 World Cup.

In total, the 2011 Pan American Games saw over 6,000 athletes compete across 36 sports and it was America who dominated as they topped the medal table with a huge total of 236, 92 of which were gold.

Cuba were second with 136 medals and 58 golds while Brazil finished third with 141 medals and 48 golds.

Hosts Mexico finished just outside the top three positions as their 133 medals, 42 of which were gold, saw them take fourth place.


By Tom Degun

altAfter 17 days of intense competition in Mexico, it was rather sad watching the Closing Ceremony last night bring proceedings at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games to a conclusion.

In keeping with everything that has embodied the competition, the Ceremony at the Omnilife Stadium was full of the passion, colour and excitement that made it a spectacle to remember.

In addition, it even featured a brilliantly surreal performance from Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin who bought the house down with the iconic 1999 single "Livin' la Vida Loca".

But for me, the telling moment came when Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, the President of the Guadalajara 2011 Organising Committee and Governor of Jalisco, took to the microphone and roared to the people of Guadalajara that, "Now we go for the Olympics."

By all accounts, his statement was not just an exaggerated war cry designed to fire up the 50,000 crowd but actually a major strategic goal for Guadalajara following the near $1 billion (£620 million/€718 million) invested to improve sports infrastructure, build the Athletes' Village and actually stage the Pan American Games in the city.

Having just missed the deadline to put forward a bid for the 2020 Olympics, 2024 now seems like the likely bet for a Guadalajara Olympic bid.

So could they do it?

Well certainly not tomorrow. But 2024 would perhaps be a realistic timeframe to get things ready in the city and prove to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they could stage its blue-ribbon competition.

After all, a bid is one thing, a winning bid is a whole different story.

But Guadalajara will draw strength from Rio de Janeiro, who used their impressive staging of the 2007 Pan American Games as the platform for their successful 2016 Olympic and Paralympic bid in Copenhagen in October 2009.

Certainly the foundations for a great Olympics are in Guadalajara.

altIt features superb sports facilities, hundreds of hotels, designer shops, a huge range of restaurants, great weather and a very charming Mexican 'look and feel' that is a very welcoming for any visitor.

But they do have one obvious Achilles Heel.

It doesn't appear to be security, which ran extremely smoothly despite prior concerns, and it isn't contaminated meat in Mexico containing the illegal drug clenbuterol as so far not one athlete at the Pan American Games has tested positive for the substance - although admittedly every precaution was taken by the 42 nations in order to avoid the occurrence and the meat was escorted into the Athletes' Village by armed police guard.

No; it is that dreaded "T" word again. Traffic.

Crossing the busy road in Guadalajara is an achievement in itself and getting a bus to and from a venue is a long, gruelling process that will take up a minimum of half your day if you are lucky to miss the congested areas – which appear to be everywhere.

There is no respite at night either, when the volume of cars on the road somehow manages to increase.

It is the problem of traffic that London are becoming increasing concerned about with the 2012 Games looming ever closer and I was not at all surprised to see numerous representative of the London Organising Committee out and about in Mexico.

After all, the 2011 Pan American Games provided the last chance for London 2012 to see a major multi-sport event in action and learn from its mistakes.

Well, there is the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in January but is debatable how much London will learn, operationally, from staging a winter sport event for 14-to-18-year-olds.

So any accurate report heading back from Guadalajara to the London 2012 HQ in Canary Wharf will highlight the traffic problem at the event and suggest yet again that the English capital continue their commendable efforts to minimise disruption next year.

The IOC have for a long time highlighted the issue as London's bid hurdle and it is becoming a much more prominent feature in the media as the 2012 Countdown Clock in Trafalgar Square keeps ticking towards D-Day.

London actually has major advantages over Guadalajara when it comes to transport in terms of a tube system they promise will be uninterrupted during the Games, the Javelin Train - which will get from central London to the Olympic Park in seven minutes - and walk and cycle ways across the city that are being heavily invested in before next summer.

However, doubts remain over how successful the controversial Olympic Route Network (ORN) will be in full operation complete with the controversial, designated lanes for athletes, the media and VIP officials.

Given that London's roads are already full to the brim, closing off large parts of the capital's existing roads spells disaster on paper.

Undoubtedly huge thought and planning has already gone into the plan but the issue can never be investigated too much and right until the last possible second, organisers must continue to address the topic to ensure that the problem does not unfairly dominate the headlines.

After all, Guadalajara 2011 showed exactly how irritatingly disappointing it can be when a huge major sporting celebration has the dampeners put on it simply due to the fact that getting from A to B is a major hassle.


By Tom Degun