July 12, 2015 / 1:41 AM / 3 years ago

Mexican divers win gold, earn pair of Rio berths

TORONTO (Reuters) - Mexican divers Rommel Pacheco and Paola Espinosa won the gold medal in their respective events at the Pan American Games on Saturday to earn automatic qualifying spots for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Rommel Pacheco of Mexico competes in the men's 3m springboard final during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Pan Am Aquatics UTS Centre and Field House. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Pacheco, who competed at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, capped a polished series of dives with his most difficult, a forward 4-1/2 somersault tuck, to score a total 483.35 points in the men’s 3m springboard.

The silver medal went to Mexico’s Jahir Ocampo (442.15) while Canada’s Philippe Gagne (421.20) took bronze.

Espinosa, a two-times Olympic medalist, sealed her win in the women’s 10m platform with a back 2-1/2 somersault 1-1/2 twist on her final dive to score a total 383.20 points.

Canadians Roseline Filion (377.60) and Meaghan Benfeito (357.45) won the women’s silver and bronze medal, respectively.

The two events are among a handful of disciplines in 10 sports at the July 10-26 Pan Am Games that offer athletes a chance to secure a spot in the Rio Olympics, which are scheduled for Aug. 5-21 next year.

Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Greg Stutchbury

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