Richmondites big part of Pan Am team

By Don Fennell

Published 4:18 PDT, Wed July 24, 2019

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Thanks to her prowess as a hammer thrower, Camryn Rogers seems destined to be a world traveller.

Thanks to her prowess as a hammer thrower, Camryn Rogers seems destined to be a world traveller.

The 20-year-old spent part of last July in Tampere, Finland where she won the IAAF World U20 women’s championship. This year the gifted Richmond athlete is off to Lima, Peru to compete in the Pan American Games July 20 to Aug. 10.

For Rogers, and indeed all the athletes, the Games will be hopefully a prelude to next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Coming off winning the U.S. universities national title in Austin, Texas June 6 (a day before her birthday) with a career-best throw of 71.50 metres, Rogers is armed with confidence as she gets set to make her Pan American Games debut.

Evan Dunfee, a good friend of Rogers and a fellow alum of the Richmond Kajaks Track and Field Club, is also ready to compete at the Games in Lima. He, too, is coming off a career-best performance having recently set a national record in winning the men’s 10,000-metre race walk in a sizzling 38:54.20 at the B.C. Athletics Championships.

“The goal at the Pan Ams is certainly to win a medal,” Dunfee, 28, told the Richmond Sentinel.

The renowned Richmond race walker edged out another good friend and longtime training partner Inaki Gomez to win gold at the Pam Am Games in Toronto in 2015. He also captivated a nation with his show of sportsmanship at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after refusing to appeal a decision that might have ultimately earned him a bronze medal.

Richmond will also be represented by three-time Olympic table tennis player Mo Zhang, who will be competing in her fourth Pan Am Games. She won medals in each of her three previous Pan Am appearances.

Another veteran athlete will be a key in the Canadian rugby 7s quest for glory. Nathan Hirayama, who made his national team debut in Dubai in 2006, has participated in 336 matches and scored 1,718 points over his career.

Shaul Gordon will be one of 18 athletes on Canada’s fencing team. The Richmondite will compete in men’s sabre, both in individual and team matches.

Gordon, who began fencing with the Richmond-based Dynamo Fencing Club, will be joined at the Games by Dynamo founder Victor Gantsevich who is among the coaching staff for the men’s epee team.

A former standout athlete with the Richmond Rapids Swim Club, Rob Pettier will be head coach of Canada’s swim team. Pettifer will oversee 16 swimmers who qualified for the Pan Am Games based on their performances at the 2019 trials in April in Toronto.

“Pan Ams will allow them to have a Games experience in a smaller capacity and provide them with the opportunity to race internationally in a very competitive environment,” he said.

“There will be a number of athletes that will have very realistic shots to make that team in Tokyo next year. It’s all about moving that line forward.”

The XVIII Pan Am Games will feature some 6,700 athletes from 41 nations in North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Travis Murao, who now lives in Toronto, has been named to Canada’s wheelchair rugby team for the Parapan American Games in August. Wheelchair rugby begins Aug. 23. Canada, the defending champions, are gearing up for a run at the 2020 Paralympics.

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