A gold medal in the 400-metre hurdles was almost taken away from Sage Watson as she watched the letters “DQ” flash beside her name on the scoreboard. But after a lengthy review, officials agreed to overturn the disqualification, crowning Watson the 2019 Pan American Games Champion.
“I trusted myself and went for the win,” said Watson. “I felt really confident going into it and I’m just so excited and happy to come away with the win. I made a few mistakes, but when you’re running for the win, it doesn’t matter as long as you get across the line.”
Clocking in with a time of 55.16 seconds, it would set a new season’s best time for Watson, who’s previous season’s best was 55.32 seconds at the Diamond League meet in London.
In the field, making her Pan American Games debut, Alysha Newman showed the world what the Canadian record holder was all about. In a Games featuring Canadian duos, it was Newman and Kelsie Ahbe’s turn to hit the runway in the women’s pole vault final.
Entering with the second highest jump of the season at 4.77 metres, Newman soared over 4.55 metres to claim her first Pan American medal, standing third on the podium with the bronze medal around her neck. “To be able to come in and get a medal at my first Pan American Games, I’m really excited,” said Newman.
In sixth place, Ahbe cleared 4.35 metres on her first attempt before strong attempts at 4.45 metres.
On the track, William Paulson took to the men’s 1,500-metre final, representing Canada for the first time after previously representing Great Britain. For Paulson, he had no doubt in his mind that he would be looking at a medal when he crossed the finish line, clocking in with a time of 3:41.15 to claim the bronze medal and the final spot on the podium.
“Coming away with a medal in my first appearance representing Canada, it is something special and I can’t be disappointed in that,” said Paulson. “I am proud to get a medal for Canada and my country.”
In the women’s 400-metre final, Kyra Constantine used her experience from the NACAC U23 Championships and Canadian Track & Field Championships to put on a strong showing. Constantine would cross the finish line in fifth place with a time of 51.99 seconds in her first senior international competition.
For the 200-metre semifinals, Crystal Emmanuel, Aiyanna Stiverne, Brendon Rodney and Jerome Blake took to the curve and down the straightaway. With times of 23.06 seconds and 20.63 seconds, respectively, Emmanuel and Blake will move on to the 200-metre finals tomorrow evening.
Friday afternoon is another action-packed session with medal potential both on the track and in the field. Elizabeth Gleadle will get things started for the Canadian team in the women’s javelin, while Brittany Crew and Sarah Mitton will look to continue their success in the women’s shot put. Jessica O’Connell will toe the line in the women’s 5,000-metre final, while Rory Linkletter takes on the men’s 10,000-metres. In the men’s high jump, Michael Mason, who’s arguably had one of the best seasons of his career, will jump for a spot on the podium.