Mitchell and Quintero earn titles as Lima 2019 track cycling competition concludes

Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell and Colombia’s Kevin Quintero earned gold on the final day of track cycling competition at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

Both riders had narrowly missed out on titles earlier in the week at the National Sport Complex Velodrome in Lima, but ensured they would not be denied again.

Mitchell, a silver medallist in the team sprint, progressed through to the final of the individual event where she faced the challenge of Martha Bayona Pineda.

The Canadian had too much for her Colombian rival, with Mitchell triumphing in straight rides to clinch gold.

An all-Mexican bronze medal contest saw Daniella Gaixola overcome her team-mate Jessica Salazar in both races to secure the final podium position.

Quintero emerged as the winner of the men’s keirin competition, following on from team sprint silver and individual bronze.

His medal set from Lima 2019 was completed when he powered to victory in the keirin, with the Colombian taking the lead in the final lap and refusing to let his challenges pass as the finish approached.

Venezuela’s Hersony Canelon and Argentina’s Leandro Bottasso completed the podium positions behind Quintero.

United States’ Kimberley Geist and Christina Birch took gold in the women’s madison competition, which was held for the first time at the Pan American Games.

The duo ended the race on a winning total of 46 points, ending nine clear of silver medallists Miriam Brouwer and Maggie Coles-Lyster of Canada.

Chile’s Antonio Cabrera Torres and Felipe Penaloza Yanez won the men's madison ©Getty Images
Chile’s Antonio Cabrera Torres and Felipe Penaloza Yanez won the men's madison ©Getty Images

Brouwer and Coles-Lyster finished level with Mexico’s Lizbeth Salazar and Jessica Bonilla win silver on 35 points, the same total as Mexico.

The Canadians win the silver due to finishing higher in the final sprint, leaving the Mexicans to take the bronze.

Track cycling competition concluded with Chile’s Antonio Cabrera Torres and Felipe Penaloza Yanez winning the men’s madison.

The duo scored points in each of the 20 sprints and gained a lap during the race to finish on 88 points.

United States’ Gavin Hoover and Adrian Hegyvary ended three points adrift to win silver, while Colombia were bronze medallists on 61 points.

The ninth day of competition at Lima 2019 had begun with Colombia's Sandra Arenas winning the women's 20 kilometre race walk in a Games record time of 1 hour, 28 min and 3 sec.

Peru’s Gabriela Garcia settled for silver in a season best 1:29.00, while Brazil’s Erica Rocha de Sena completed the podium in 1:30.34.

Ecuador's Daniel Pintado won the men's race in a time of 1:21:51, ending six seconds clear of challengers Caio Bonfim of Brazil and Guatemala's José Alejandro Barrondo, who won silver and bronze respectively.

Ecuador's Mauricio José Arteaga and defending champion Evan Dunfee of Canada were outside the medal positions, finishing 32 and 36 seconds down respectively.

Brazilian success came in the women's 10km open water competition with Ana de Jesus Soares triumphing in 2:00:51.

Colombia's Sandra Arenas won the women's 20km race walk ©Getty Images
Colombia's Sandra Arenas won the women's 20km race walk ©Getty Images

Argentina's Cecilia Elizabe Biagioli placed second in 2:01:23, while another Brazilian, Viviane Eichelberger, claimed bronze with the same time. 

Ecuador's Esteban Enderica was the victor in the men's race by clocking 1:53:46, ending 14 seconds clear of Guillermo Vitto Bertola of Argentina.

Taylor Abbott of the United States finished third in 1:54:02.

Favourites Meaghan Benfeito and Caeli McKay of Canada record an emphatic score of 320.64 to win the women's synchronised 10m platform diving event in the Lima 2019 Aquatic Centre.

Mexico's Alejandra Orozco Loza and Gabriela Belem Agundez Garcia won silver with 307.38, while a score of 281.10 saw United States' Amelia Magana and Delaney Schnell take bronze.

Colombia’s Daniel Restrepo triumphed in the men’s 3m springboard diving event with a winning total of 468.10 points.

He took the title ahead of Mexico’s Juan Celaya, who won silver on 454.30, with bronze going to Canada’s Phillipe Gagne on 448.65.

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Canada earns Olympic berth in artistic swimming with duet gold in Lima

Jacqueline Simoneau and Claudia Holzner won the gold medal in the duet artistic swimming competition Wednesday at the Pan American Games, and earned Canada a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the process.

Simoneau, of Chambly, Que., and Holzner, of Calgary, finished first with a total score of 180.0343 points. Mexico was second with 174.3661 points, and the United States third with 170.6698 points.

Simoneau and Holzner returned to the pool later Wednesday as part of Canada’s nine-swimmer squad in team competition, with another Olympic berth on the line.

Canada swept the two events at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, with Simoneau and Karine Thomas earning duet gold and Holzner joining for the team event.

The sport was renamed from synchronized swimming to artistic swimming in 2017.

Later Wednesday, gymnast Ellie Black of Halifax looked to add to her record Pan Am medal haul. Black, Canada’s most decorated Pan Am gymnast with nine medals, will compete in the beam and floor competitions at the Villa El Salvador Sports Center.


Tina Irwin of Stouffville, Ont., riding Laurencio, took silver in individual dressage with a score of 77.780. Sarah Lockman of the U.S. won gold with 78.980. Irwin was part of Canada’s squad that won gold in the team dressage event on Monday and earned a berth at the 2020 Games.

“I was thrilled with the team gold but now to be on the podium individually is fantastic,” Irwin said. “It was definitely my goal, I was coming to win a medal. I was hoping for, gold but that’s okay. My horse was amazing, the whole competition.”


Michelle Li of Markham, Ont., advanced to the women’s semifinals with a 2-0 (21-9, 26-24) win over Mexico’s Haramara Gaitan. Toronto’s Brian Yang of defeated Osleni Gurrero of Cuba 2-1 (21-10, 15-21, 21-13) to advance to the men’s semifinals.

Toronto’s Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai of Surrey, B.C., won their women’s doubles quarterfinal 2-0 (21-3, 21-3) over a team from Peru. Tsai then teamed with Nyl Yakura of Pickering, Ont., for a 2-0 (21-10, 21-14) win over a Cuban tandem on a mixed doubles quarterfinal.

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Cuba and Canada to play for 9-to-12 Positions at U21

Cuba defeated Poland 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-22, 33-31) advancing with the losers to the 9-to-12 round of the FIVB U21 Men’s Volleyball World Championship on Wednesday.

Cuba finished Pool H with a 3-0 mark, while Poland closed with 2-1.

Julio César Cárdenas and José Miguel Gutierrez carried most of the offensive load of Cuba with 24 and 22 points, respectively.

Canada advanced to the round for the 9-to-12 positions despite suffering a lost to Egypt 3-1 (26-24, 25-21, 26-28, 25-23).

Both teams finished with the same win-loss record (2-1), points by wins (5) and sets-ratio (1.116) but the Canadians finished with a better point-ratio (1.027 to 1.013).

Xander Ketrzynski led Canada with 27 points while Youssef Hamdy Awad was the best for Egypt with 18.

In the other match of Pool G, the Czech Republic prevailed against Rico to claim the top spot in Pool G, following their 3-1 (25-13, 25-18, 20-25, 28-26) victory. They finished with a 2-1 record and 7 points.

Marek Sotola led Czech Republic with 21 points while Sebastian Negrón finished with 17.

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Canada and Cuba have 2-0 in U21 Consolation Round

Canada has almost a foot into the competition for the 9-12 positions of the FIVB U21 Boys’ World Championship after a dramatic 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 28-26, 15-25, 17-15) victory over the Czech Republic (1-1) on Monday.

Xander Ketrzynski led four Canadian players in double figures with 19 points, followed by Alexis Tournier and Jackson Bere each with 13 points and Brodie Hofer with 12. Marek Sotola had a match-high 32 points for the losers.


Canada, with 2-0 record in Pool G, next faces Egypt to conclude the second phase of the competition.

In Pool H, Cuba beat Morocco 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-13) behind twelve serving aces.

Cuba (2-0) had Carlos Charles and Raico Altunaga as its two best scorers in the match with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Also, Egypt overcame Puerto Rico 3-2 (25-23, 21-25, 22-25, 25-19, 15-12) relying on 22 blocks against 11 by the losers. Egypt is now 1-1 while Puerto Rico fell to 0-2.

Youseff Hamdy Awad stood out with 24 points for the winners, while Sebastian Negrón had 22 for Puerto Rico.

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Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association supports Cuba´s ideals

CCFA-CALGARY in Collaboration with Colectivo Por la Memoria Salvador Allende had the privileged to had 2 special guest from ICAP ( Cuban Institute of Friendship with the people) directly from Cuba, Sandra Ramirez & Yamil Marrero.

Our main objective is to inform and educate people about important topics that's affecting the Cuban people.

Important issues such as the closing of the Canadian Visa office in Havana that's impacting thousands of Cuban families, the Helms Burton laws that has been put in place and threaten peace, solidarity, peaceful coexistence and friendship between nations AND for over half of century the people of Cuba have been suffering under a criminal blockade that we ALL say no more!!!!

We will continue to defend this country that has done nothing but give Solidarity to so many countries in Latin America, Africa and around the world!!!! For those that came to see them speak, Thank You for your unconditional support!!!!!

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Cuba 3, Quebec 2

The Cuban National Team made it two wins in a row as they defeated the Quebec Capitales 3-2 at Stade Canac on Tuesday night in what turned out to be the only game played in the Can-Am League.

Raul Gonzalez went 2-for-3 for the visiting Cuban squad, with the go-ahead RBI in the sixth inning to go along with his efforts. Cesar Echvarria led the game off with a HR, and Frederich Cruz added a solo HR in the second inning for the Cuban offense.

Meanwhile, Lazaro Blanco pitched well against his former team. The veteran right hander went five innings, allowing just one run on two hits, walking two and striking out six. Rafael Thope got the final four outs to nail down his second save of the tour for Cuba.

Yordan Manduley went 3-for-4 for Quebec in defeat.

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Activists lash out at Canada for ‘aggression towards Cuba and Venezuela’

Canada has been criticized for its role, along with the United States, in what activists call aggression towards Cuba and Venezuela.

The efforts of Canada, the United States and other western nations are designed “to cause as much destruction as they can in Venezuela’’ and to choke Cuba, according Dr Isaac Saney, co-chairman of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC).

“We live in extremely dangerous times,’’ said Saney, who was one of three presenters at a panel discussion in Toronto titled, “Cuba in the Time of Trump: AN ISLAND AGAINST THE EMPIRE’’.

The discussion, at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre, and organized by the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto and the CNC, came just days after the United States tightened its decades-old embargo against Cuba, banning cruises to Cuba under new restrictions on US travel to the Spanish-speaking nation.

US officials in President Donald Trump’s administration said the measures are to pressure Cuba to reform and stop supporting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Panelist Yoslaidy Clemente López, a consul at Cuba’s diplomatic mission in Toronto, described the US action as “crazy’’, but said the experience is nothing new for Cubans.

“It’s just a cycle,’’ she said. “Cuba will stand independent and sovereign forever.’’

Saney said the United States wants to “extinguish’’ Cuba because the Caribbean country “represents an example and a vision of a better world’’.

“In this struggle that Cuba is waging is the fact that they are an example of resistance and they insist on their right to self-determination,’’ he charged. “The United States cannot stand any country that stands against the empire.’’

In the case of Venezuela, said Saney, it’s being attacked because Maduro and former President Hugo Chávez represent a “seizing of a very important section of the Americas out of the hands of US imperialism and the creation of a project that was trying to use the resources to the benefit of its people’’.

Venezuela, he said, “has more than just oil. But, there is a whole series of other riches that that they have, such as gold, that not only the US wants but also Canadian mining companies want as well’’.

There also is a “profound racist element’’ to the “undermining’’ of the government of Venezuela, where the people in power are overwhelmingly the poor of African, Indigenous and mixed-race descent, Saney charged.

Panelist Cikiah Thomas, after commending Cuba and it former President Fidel Castro, especially on despatching military troops to Africa in the 1970s in support of Angola’s fight against US-based South African forces, then turned his attention to Venezuela.

Thomas, chair of the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC), said Venezuela is in a “critical situation’’ that he blames on meddling from the US and allies such as Canada.

“Canada likes to pride itself as a country of laws but this is lost on the Canadian government when it comes to Venezuela,’’ Thomas said. “It is time for Canada to come out with her real reasons for the aggression towards the legitimate government and people of Venezuela.’’

The actions against Venezuela are “immoral, unethical and illegal’’, said Thomas, and Canadians should contact their parliamentary representatives and demand an end to the involvement by the Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The GAC has embarked on what it refers to as an international lobbying campaign to mobilize “progressive forces all the world over to resist the unprovoked attack on Venezuela’’.

The campaign includes letter-writing to the Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria, urging them to “champion the cause of the Venezuelan people’’ by bringing up the Venezuelan situation for debate at fora such as the African Union and the United Nations.

“In our opinion’’, GAC says in its letter, “Mr Trump is directing his puppets to recolonize Venezuela.’’

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Telmary Regrets Canada’s Closing of Consular Services (+ Video)

Cuban rapper Telmary Díaz raises her voice next to other Cuban and Canadian residents who were mobilized this Sunday in the cities of Toronto and Montreal against the decision of Justin Trudeau’s government of terminating the visa procedures at the embassy of this country in Havana.

For whom Cuba is its best source of inspiration and has lived for several years, for working matters, between Canada and this wonderful island, the closing of the Canadian immigration services in Cuba has seemed absurd.

As a journalist asked her why she was there, she said: «I am representing the Cuban people that live here, in Toronto, and right now these measures affect us all, both the Cuban artists and the families who live here that are part of Toronto’s community. It’s unfair that the Canadian consulate is closed. Imagine a grandpa traveling to a third country to look for a visa to visit his relatives. It’s really a harsh measure, but, it’s also outraging, when Cuba is one of the countries that welcomes 1.5 millions of Canadians a year, as well as one of the safest places for them we are certain of that, because we have had the opportunity to share with them. It bothers me that it’s not reciprocal. That’s why we are here and I know that the number of people will increase; there are people who are writing to us and signatures are being gathered. The Canadian and the Cuban people will get united and everybody else who is trying to turn this situation around. Here we are raising the voice representing Cuba».

There are not doubts that Telmary has also become a cultural ambassador for Cuba to the world. For her: «Cubans have an incredible strength. I believe there isn’t anything better in the world than to be Cuban. That’s why I defend my roots. I travel the world trying to show people what it really means to be Cuban», she said a few years ago in Toronto, where she stayed for a musical contract.

For Julio Fonseca, chairman at the Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto Juan Gualberto Gómez, group that organized the manifestation that took place outside the offices of the chancellor of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, is «a sad measure; such position won't help the relationship between both countries and peoples, and it will undoubtedly affect the cultural, economic, political, academic and sport exchanges, just to mention some sectors», as reported Prensa Latina.

On the other hand, the Cuban ambassador in Canada, Josefina Vidal, made public several days ago the official complain of the island to the authorities of that country for the closing of the Canadian immigration services in Cuba.

Back then, Vidal had declared that the alleged reason of the measure was the mysterious illnesses suffered by several Canadian diplomats working in Cuba since 2017 and that were initially attributed to «acoustic attacks».

On the consequences of these closings in the embassy, the diplomat highlighted that Cubans have to travel twice, at a high cost, to a Canadian embassy in another country, Mexico, for example, to obtain a Canadian visa. This measure affects hundreds of people including the Canadians with their children who have a Cuban relative in the family.

As proven, it’s regrettably that Canada imitates the North American pattern in which the current president, Donald Trump, forces Cubans who want a visa to the U.S. to visit their embassy in a third country, for example, Colombia.

Also, the Cuban chancellor, Bruno Rodríguez, carried out this Friday a work visit to Canada to meet his counterpart, Chrystia Freeland.

In the talks, Rodríguez expressed the concern for the termination of the grant of visas to Cuban citizens in Havana, which—he said to Prensa Latina—is already affecting the exchanges in different fields of the bilateral relationship, and it particularly damages the Cuban, Canadian and mixed families.

With information from Prensa Latina

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