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Pan American Games

July 26, 2007|KEVIN BAXTER | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A review of what happened Wednesday at Rio de Janeiro:

Mexico's Ana Guevara answered her critics by racing to her third consecutive Pan American Games title in the women's 400 meters Wednesday on an evening of track and field otherwise marred by a controversy involving the starter.

All week, crowds have refused to quiet for the start of any race, making it difficult for runners to hear the starter's commands or the gun. And virtually every sprint run Wednesday had runners staying in their blocks or looking back over their shoulder expecting a restart, leading two races to be appealed and one protested.

The British Virgin Islands filed an appeal and later a formal protest over the women's 400 meters after Laverne Jones was unable to hear the starter's gun and finished seventh, one place ahead of Debbie Dunn of the United States.

"I can't believe they didn't recall the race," said Dunn, who also got a poor start. "I'm very disappointed."

In the men's 400, Canada's Tyler Christopher, who rallied to finish second in 45.05, showed his displeasure by kicking the starting blocks and pushing an official before exiting the track.

"That was a false start," he said.

Canada reportedly appealed the race to no avail. Chris Brown of the Bahamas won in 44.85.

Guevara, who has faced criticism for failing to match her world championship season of 2003, when she led the world with a Mexican record of 48.89, fought back Wednesday, pulling away from the field with a withering stretch run to win in 50.34.

"It motivated me a lot," said Guevara, who called the criticism, including whispers that she has used performance-enhancing drugs, a "lack of respect."

In other finals, former Garfield High and UCLA standout Sheena Johnson led a 1-3 U.S. finish in the women's 400-meter hurdles, winning in 54.64 with current Bruins hurdler Nicole Leach earning the bronze in 54.97. Kibwe Johnson of the U.S. finished second in the men's hammer throw with a final-round heave of 236-9 3/4 .

-- KEVIN BAXTER

Boxing

Only one U.S. boxer fought Wednesday, and light-welterweight Karl Dargan (Philadelphia) moved into the final with a 9-8 victory over Myke Carvalho of Brazil. The bout was close throughout, and tied, 6-6, after three rounds. Dargan will fight Jonathan Gonzalez Ortiz of Puerto Rico for the title.

Diving

Mitch Richeson (Greenwood, Ind.) and two-time Olympian Troy Dumais (Ventura) won the men's synchronized diving event off the three-meter springboard with 422.52 points.

On the women's 10-meter platform, Paola Espinosa of Mexico won gold, followed by 14-year-old Haley Ishimatsu (Seal Beach) and Juliana Veloso of Brazil.

Field hockey

The U.S. beat Brazil, 13-0, for seventh place with Pat Harris (Moorpark) scoring five goals and Jarred Martin (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) scoring two. It was the lowest finish for a U.S. men's team in a Pan Am Games.

Softball

The U.S. beat Brazil, 7-0, on a combined no-hitter by Jennie Finch (La Mirada), who struck out 11 in four innings, and Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, Calif.), who struck out three batters in the fifth inning before the game was stopped because of the mercy rule.

Monica Abbott (Salinas) struck out 12 in five innings and Jennie Ritter (Ann Arbor, Mich.) struck out five in two innings in a combined no-hitter for the U.S. over Colombia, 4-0. Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) hit a grand slam in the third inning.

Wrestling

Justin Ruiz (Salt Lake City) won the Greco-Roman 96-kilogram class, Lindsey Durlacher (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished second in 60 kilos and T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs) was third in 74 kilos.

Water polo

The U.S. men defeated Cuba, 15-4, and will play Brazil for the gold medal. Peter Varellas (Moraga, Calif.), Jeff Powers (San Luis Obispo) and Ryan Bailey (Long Beach) each scored three goals.

Others

In men's volleyball, the U.S. beat Puerto Rico, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23, behind 12 spikes by Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) and 11 by Brook Billings (Santa Barbara).

Andrea Nott (San Jose) and Christina Jones (Missoula, Mont.) won the technical duet portion of synchronized swimming with 94.500 points.

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

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