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WELLAND, Ontario (Reuters) - Canada got the Pan American Games off to a flying start by powering home first in the women's K-4 500 meters on Saturday to claim the first gold medal of the competition.
Riding the enthusiastic support from the home crowd, Canadian kayakers Michelle Russell, Emilie Fournel, KC Fraser and Hannah Vaughan crossed the line one second clear of Cuba, who had to settle for silver. Argentina took the bronze.
"I wouldn't say it makes it feel a little more special, it makes it feel extra special," said Russell about competing at home. "I can't describe it.
"I can't find the words to describe how it feels to win gold, in the Pan Am Games, in Toronto, on home soil, the very first medal. I can't."
The gold was the first of eight to be awarded on Saturday as the July 10-26 Games, the largest multi-sport event ever staged in Canada, got underway.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Ken Ferris