British Virgin Islands celebrated their maiden Pan American Games medal with Chantel Malone triumphing in the women’s long jump on the first competition at the VIDENA National Sports Village athletics stadium.
British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee President Ephraim Penn had targeted a first medal at the continental event this year.
The target followed Kyron McMaster’s gold medal success in the men’s 400m hurdles at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
Along with McMaster, Malone was named as a potential contender to break the British Virgin Islands’ duck at the Games having competed at the event since 1983 without success.
Malone, a silver medallist at last year’s Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia, immediately took the lead in the final with a first-round jump of 6.68 metres.
United States’ Keturah Orji would get closest to the mark with a 6.66m jump in the penultimate round, but was unable to improve with her final effort.
Jamaica’s Tissanna Hickling would complete the podium on 6.59m.
Malone had been able to enjoy her final jump safe in the knowledge that a historic gold medal had been secured.
The British Virgin Islands’ success means Aruba are the only team competing at the Pan American Games who are still seeking their first medal.
“I was not fully aware that it was the first medal for my country,” Malone said.
“And when I found out it was amazing, it’s not just any medal, it’s the gold one.
“I feel that I have put my name and my country up there, saying ‘we are here.’
“I am very happy, we are a fairly small country.
“Coming here and winning the gold medal is a rewarding emotion.
“I hope it serves as an inspiration for my compatriots in the Pan American Games and in the next ones, because they can also achieve it.”
Fedrick Dacres defended his men’s discus title in a Jamaican one-two, after the Commonwealth Games second round throw of 67.68m was enough to take the gold.
His team-mate Traves Smikle achieved a distance of 65.02m to finish in second place, while United States’ Reginald Jagers III ended third on 64.48m.
Cuba’s Yaime Perez has triumphed in the women’s discus in dramatic fashion, as she produced a Pan American Games record 66.58m in the final round of competition to take the title.
Brazil’s Andressa Oliveira De Morais dropped to the silver medal position as a result, with her throw of 65.98m having led from the second round.
Fernanda Borges of Brazil completed the podium on 62.23m.
On the track, Canada’s Natasha Wodak achieved a Pan American Games record 31 min 55.17 sec to win the women’s 10,000m.
Wodak battled with Risper Biyaki in the closing stages, with the Kenyan-born Mexican athlete winning silver 31:59.00.
Rachel Cliff was rewarded for her earlier efforts, having led for the opening 8,000m, with a bronze medal as she clocked 32:13.34.
Mexico’s Fernando Martínez Estrada claimed gold in the men’s 5,000 metres event in 13:53.87, ending narrowly clear of Brazil’s Altobeli da Silva.
Bronze was earned by Carlos Díaz, with the Chilean ending in 13:54.43, 0.01 behind the Brazilian.