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Dylan Armstrong and Diane Cummins win gold at Pan Am Games

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

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RIO – Diane Cummins of Victoriabeat the reigning world champion for gold in the women’s 800-metres and Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops, B.C., won the men’s shot put on Tuesday in track and field action at the Pan Am Games.

Cummins clocked one minute and 59.76 seconds and celebrated her win with an extra lap around the track with a Canadian flag.  Rosibel Garcia Mena of Colombiawas second in 2:00.02 and world champion Zulia Celatayud of Cubathird in 2:00.34.

‘’I feel great about the race, the best part for me was winning,’’ said Cummins, 33, with three top-10 world championship finishes in her career.  ‘’I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was a strong field and my tactic was to sit back and pay attention to what was going on and go with my gut.  I was surprised to see myself in the lead with 300-metres to go at such a quick pace.  It feels great they didn’t catch me.’’

In the men’s shot put, Armstrong placed first with 20.10 metre toss on his second of six attempts.  Dorian Scott of Jamaica was second at 20.06 and Carlos Veliz of Cubathird at 19.75.  Armstrong’s training was derailed recently after suffering food poisoning in Europe.

‘’That’s not bad for now,’’ said Armstrong, who shot a personal best 20.72 last month.  ‘’I was pretty confident that second throw could hold.  With the rain, everyone was very hesitant.  I’ve trained in the rain and snow so I’m ready for anything.’’

In the men’s 100 final, Anson Henry of Pickering, Ont., placed eighth in 10.38.  Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilleswon the gold in 10.15.

In the 100-metre hurdles semifinals, Angela Whyte of Edmontonand Perdita Felicien of Pickering, Ont., qualified 1-2 for the final clocking 12.68 and 12.69 respectively.  For Felicien, it was a season best time.

In the men’s 400 semifinals, world championship medallist Tyler Christopher of Edmontonwas the fastest qualifier in 45.28.  Nathan Vadeboncoeur of Winnipegdid not advance.

In the heptathlon, Jessica Zelinka of London, Ont., holds the lead after four of seven events with 3,786 points.  She posted the top results in the 100 hurdles opener with a season best 13.26 and the shot put, was second in the 200-metre with a season best 24.07 and seventh in the high jump.  Her shot put of 14.97 metres was a personal best in a heptathlon.

‘’Besides the high jump, it was a good day,’’ said Zelinka, fourth at the Commonwealth Games last year.  ‘’I came into this meet as one of the favourites and that’s given me a lot of confidence.  I feel less worried than at a world championships, and it’s feeling I would like to get use to.’’

In the women’s 400 semifinals, Esther Akinsulie of Ottawaand Carline Muir of Western, Ont., did not advance.

Women's 800m
1. Diane Cummins - 1:59.76 - CANADA
2. Rosebell Garcia Mena - 2:00.02 - COLUMBIA
3. Zulia Calatayud - 2:00.34 - CUBA

Men's Shot Put
1. Dylan Armstrong - 20.10 metres - CANADA
2. Dorlan Scott - 20.08m - JAMAICA
3. Carlos Veliz - 19.76m - CUBA

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