July 15, 2015 / 11:10 PM / 4 years ago

Canadian and American shooters earn Rio berths

TORONTO (Reuters) - American Brad Balsley and Canadian Lynda Kiejko won their respective shooting events at the Pan American Games on Wednesday to earn automatic qualifying spots for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Balsley, a staff sergeant with the United States Army, punched his Rio ticket by winning the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol final while Kiejko won the women’s 25m pistol final.

“I don’t think words can actually describe how excited and just ecstatic I am right now,” said Kiejko, who won a bronze in 10m air pistol at the 2003 Pan Am Games. “I was coming into this event not with it being my forte. I have no words. I am over the moon right now.”

The 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 Mark Lamport-Stokes

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