Monday, March 25, 2013

PARC - 2013 Pan American Championships in Cali, Colombia

The 2013 Pan American Championships kicked off on the weekend in Cali, Colombia. Many of the top names are there. On the women's side, there's Mexicans Paola Longoria, last year's gold medalist, and Samantha Salas, American Rhonda Rajsich, and Chilean Angela Grisar.

On the men's side, Polo Gutierrez and Javier Moreno are representing Mexico with Carlos Keller, the U18 Junior World Champion playing for Bolivia. The Americans have Marco Rojas and Jansen Allen playing for them.

There will be a new men's gold medalist, as Canadian Mike Green, who won gold last year in Temuco, Chile, is not there. In fact, no Canadians made the trip to Cali. Word is that the Canadian government issued a travel advisory recommending against travel to Cali. Thus, Racquetball Canada chose not to send a team.

It's the first time Canada has missed a Pan Am Championship since 2000, when the event was cancelled completely due to civil unrest in Bolivia, which was to host the event.

Early Action

The event has three days of pool play prior to an elimination round, and the results from the pool play are used to seed players for the elimination round.

One result of note from the first day of competition was Marco Rojas (USA) defeating Polo Gutierrez (Mexico), 13-15, 15-9, 11-10. The other Saturday results were straight forward, although Javier Moreno (Mexico) needed a tie-breaker to defeat Shai Manzuri (Argentina), 15-12, 6-15, 11-6.

There was a minor upset on Sunday when Chilean Santiago Canedo beat veteran Dominican Republic player Luis Perez, 12-15, 15-8, 11-7.

There were three tight men's doubles matches Sunday, and it doesn't get any tighter than the win Guatemalans Pedro Manolo Sandoval and Edwin Galicia had over Costa Ricans Felipe Camacho Martin and Joaquin Solera, as the Guatemalans won 14-15, 15-14, 11-10.

Americans Rojas and Allen also had needed a 11-10 tie-breaker to defeat Bolivians Kadim Carrasco and Ricardo Monroy, as they won 15-11, 14-15, 11-10.

Finally, Cesar Castro and Cesar Castillo of Venezuela went the distance with Chileans Francisco Troncoso and Canedo, 15-2, 8-15, 11-9.

Pool play wraps up Monday and the elimination round will begin on Wednesday. Matches are being streamed live via the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) website.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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