© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated

Canada experienced a golden day on the first day of track and field competition during the 2015 Toronto Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games. Canada ended the day with five gold, three silver and two bronze medals since the athletics portion of the games started with the women’s marathon on Friday and the gold and silver medal performances from Evan Dunfee and Inaki Gomez in the 20K race-walk.

Tuesday morning started off with the women’s javelin throw at 10:05 AM EST with Liz Gleadle winning with a throw of 62.83-metres on her final of six attempts. She bettered Kara Patterson by over a metre who finished with a 61.44 and was leading Gleadle until the two had their final attempts. Bronze was earned by Brazil’s Juceline De Lima. She finished with a best attempt at 60.42; she had the lead after the fourth round with that throw.

Gleadle of Vancouver finished 12th at the 2012 London Olympic Games. She twice won gold at the North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) U-23 Championships. She is a former student of the University of British Columbia, despite having been pursued by more than one NCAA Division 1 school.

Shawnacy Barber is Canada’s record holder in the pole vault, who has achieved the height of 5.91-metres, which is currently the world lead. Today, he demonstrated his prowess once again winning gold with a 5.80m height, which equals the Pan American Games record.

Jessica O’Connell finished out of the medals in the 5,000m. Going in, she was seeded number one and was most likely to win, however, is recovering from an Achilles injury. It became apparent that she was nursing the injury when she started the race wearing a pair of flats rather than spikes. Given the approximate two second difference per lap by not wearing spikes, she could have theoretically won the race with the injury; however, it was probably smarter to save her best performance for the 2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships next month and not risk further injury today.

Canadian record holder Matt Hughes was the favourite going in to the 3,000m steeplechase. There was no doubt he would medal and was considered the most likely to win. He crossed the line in the time of 8:32.18, nearly half a minute off of his personal best, for gold.

One athlete that we missed in the race preview is Alex Genest, who won silver, finishing second in the time of 8:33.83. Genest is an experienced international runner having competed during the 2012 London Olympics as well as seven different world championships in junior, track and cross-country. He will be joining Hughes in the 2015 Beijing IAAF World Track and Field Championships in August.

Third place finisher was American Cory Leslie who finished in the time of 8:36.83.

In tactical 800m races North Vancouver’s Jessica Smith qualified to the final of the 800m that will be taking place tomorrow. She finished third to American Alysia Montano and first place finisher Brazilian Flavia De Lima; their times were 2:02.39, 2:02.95 and 2:03.34, respectively.

In the second and even more tactical race Rose Mary Almanza of Cuba prevailed over Eganville’s Melissa Bishop. They went 1-2 in the times of 2:04.39 and 2:04.51, while third place finisher American Phoebe Wright finished in 2:04.88. The final between the top three finishers in each heat and the next two fastest will take place Wednesday evening at 7:30 PM EST. The final will be an exciting race with any of the top six capable of winning, depending on tactics.

St. Catharine’s Mo Ahmed won gold in the 10,000m event against strong competition, although he was favoured for a medal and probably gold, tactics can play a large part in the end result and it was Ahmed who kicked hard during the final lap to secure victory in the time of 28:49.46. American Aron Rono finished second and third was Mexican Juan Luis Barrios.

Sultana Frizell won the bronze medal in the Hammer Throw with her best on the day of 69.51m. First place finisher, Rosa Rodriguez of Venezuela made the distance of 71.61m, while second threw as far as 71.22 by American Amber Campbell of the US. All three made their fifth attempt their best.

Timothy Nedow won a silver medal today in the shot put event tossing the shot as far as 20.53m, which was a season best performance from the Brockville native. New also won a bronze medal during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. His personal best is 20.98m.

Sarah Wells qualified for the finals in the 400m hurdles by finishing second in her heat with her finishing time of 56.77. Hers was the second heat and with the luxury of going second, the field knew how fast that they had to go to move on. The two fastest times behind the automatic top three were both in this second race. The winning time was 56.08 by American Shamier Little. The third place finisher was Cuban Zurrian Hechavarria who crossed the line in the time of 56.82. The final takes place at 7:15 PM EST on Wednesday, July 22nd.

Frizell of Perth, Ontario is an experienced international talent, with two Commonwealth Games gold medals and a silver medal performance from the Guadalajara Pan Am Games from 2011. Her personal best is 71.97m achieved at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Frizell will be attending the 2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships.

Ahmed is a 2012 London Olympian and is the third-fastest Canadian all-time behind Simon Bairu and current record holder Cameron Levins. Ahmed’s personal best time is 27:34.64.

In timely fashion, Pickering’s Nikkita Holder had her best performance of the year today finishing the 100m hurdles in the time of 12.85, for her efforts she earned the bronze medal. American Queen Harrison had to run a lifetime personal best of 12.52 to win over countrywomen Tenaya Jones who finished in 12.84. Canada’s other entry Phylicia George of Markham made it to the finals and finished in fifth place in the time of 13.00. George’s personal best is 12.65, while Holder’s is 12.80.

Wednesday’s schedule in linked here.