Richmond athletes bring home medals from Pan Am Games

Mo Zhang and Shaul Gordon lead way as multi-medal winners

Richmond athletes returned home with a number of medals from the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Leading the way was veteran national table tennis member Mo Zhang with three medals. 

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The 30-year-old three-time Olympian teamed with Eugene Wang to capture the mixed doubles event. She also added bronze in women’s doubles, with Alicia Coté, and another in women’s team event. Zhang now has six Pan Am medals in her decorated career.

She has turned her attention to next month’s Pan Am Championships which will serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Worlds in Korea next April.

Fencer Shaul Gordon continued his outstanding season with a pair of medals —  capturing bronze in the men’s individual sabre competition then adding a silver in the team event after a narrow loss to the United States.

“I think this is one of the closest we’ve come to beating the U.S.,” said the one-time Dynamo Fencing product who now trains and lives in Montreal. “We’ve fenced them every year and it doesn’t feel too good right now because we could almost taste it.”

Gordon, 25, headed to Lima with plenty of momentum after his top eight finish at last month’s World Championships in Budapest. 

He reached the semi-finals before a narrow 15-14 loss to American Daryl Homer. He had rallied to tie the match only to lose on the final touch.

“Unfortunately my last touch, I think it was the right idea. Just the execution was not so good,” Gordon reflected. “Last Pan Am Games (2015 in Toronto) I finished in the top eight, this is top four so it's already an improvement and I can take a lot of this. 

“On to the next season, a lot of positives, a few negatives, few things to work on, but it was a good competition for next year, which is when we finish off the Olympic qualifying season.”

In athletics, hammer thrower Camryn Rogers wrapped up her busy and productive season with a sixth place finish. Her best throw of 66.09 metres came on her sixth and final attempt. The event was won by American Gwendolyn Berry (74.62m).

Back in June, the 20-year-old McMath graduate captured the national title at the NCAA Championships in Texas. She is heading into her junior year at Cal Berkeley. 

Last month, Rogers won gold at the Canadian Championships in Montreal — finishing nearly two metres ahead of her nearest rival with a throw of 65.41 metres.

Race walker Evan Dunfee contended in the 20 km event, eventually finishing in fifth place. 

The 2015 defending champion was setting the pace at the 8 km mark before dropping back to 10th. A strong finish left him 36 seconds behind Ecuador’s Brian Pintado Alvarez with a clocking of 1:22.27. He was actually 41 seconds faster than his winning time four years ago in Toronto

Two weeks earlier, Dunfee easily won the 20 km Canadian title with a time of 1:24.22.

The Games began with national team veteran Nathan Hirayama leading Canada to a silver medal finish in the Rugby Sevens competition.


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