TORONTO (Reuters) - Jamaican sprinter Rasheed Dwyer broke a 44-year-old Pan American Games record on Thursday, a Canadian brother and sister won a combined four medals and a sexagenarian qualified for the Rio Olympics in equestrian.
Ian Millar, a 68-year-old Canadian competing in his 10th consecutive Pan Am Games, led his country to a gold medal in team equestrian to give Canada an automatic berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“We wanted this so badly for our team and our country,” said Millar, who has also competed in a record 10 Summer Olympics.
“It’s not necessarily the same team that will go to Rio next year, although I have a suspicion it might just be.”
Dwyer qualified for Friday’s men’s 200 meters final in style as he broke the oldest Pan Am athletics record by crossing the line in 19.80, eclipsing the 19.86 posted by Jamaican Don Quarrie in 1971.
His time was also the third fastest non-wind assisted mark in the world this year. Only American Justin Gatlin, a four-times Olympics medalist, has gone faster.
Mexico’s Brenda Flores also set a Pan Am record in the women’s 10,000m final where she crossed the line in 32 minutes, 41.33 seconds, comfortably ahead of American Desiree Davila (silver) and Canada’s Lanni Marchant (bronze).
In pole vault, Cuba’s Yarisley Silva cleared 4.85m, the highest of any women this year, to win the gold. Brazil’s Fabiana Murer grabbed silver while American Jenn Suhr, a favorite at next month’s world championships, took bronze.
The Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos, who won a silver medal in the men’s 400m at the 2012 London Olympics, went one better in Toronto as he captured the gold in the same event with a season-best time of 44.56 seconds.
Damian Warner, who wanted to experience what it was like to compete in front of a home crowd despite its proximity to next month’s world championships, took gold in the men’s decathlon and broke a 19-year-old Canadian record in the process.
The United States, buoyed by seven gold medals on Thursday, strengthened their lead atop the table with 83 gold and 224 overall. Canada remained in second with 69 gold and 186 overall.
The United States beat Canada in the men’s fencing team saber final while Argentina’s Ricardo Bustamante overcame a bout of sickness to help his team capture the bronze.
“The doctors couldn’t give me anything because I was competing, so I just had to keep up with it – that’s it. It really affected me,” said Bustamante.
“I usually don’t fence that badly or with that stress. I managed to overcome the difficulties and here I am with a medal.”
In waterski and wakeboard, one of the eight Pan Am sports not part of the Olympics program, a pair of siblings combined to win one gold medal and three silver.
Canadian water-skier Whitney McClintock combined for three of the medals as she triumphed in the women’s slalom event and then took silver in the tricks and jump finals.
Her gold medal marked the 65th of the Pan Am Games for Canada, beating the previous mark of 64 set in 1999 with three days of competition remaining.
McClintock’s brother, Jason, won silver in the men’s slalom and narrowly missed the podium in the tricks competition later in the day.
“Having friends, family and also seeing so many gold medals coming in for Canada built some pressure.” said Whitney, who also won gold in Wednesday’s women’s overall. “But at the same time it fueled me.”
Editing by Steve Keating.