Canada’s Sultana Frizell planned to do some serious celebrating Monday night, both of her birthday and a strong ending to a long and rocky track and field season.
The Perth, Ont., native, captured a silver medal in the women’s hammer throw on the same day she turned 27 at the Pan American Games.
“Happy birthday to me,” Frizell said. “I’m going hook up with a couple of other hammer throwers tonight, and we’re going to celebrate the year’s end and hopefully a good beginning to this next Olympic year. That’s what we’re celebrating, and the focus is on bigger and better.”
Frizell threw 70.11 metres for silver. Yipsi Morena of Cuba threw 75.62 to win the gold while Amber Campbell of the United States took bronze with a throw of 69.93.
Canada also won silver in the women’s team all-around event in artistic gymnastics, while wrestlers Matthew Gentry and Khetag Pliev contributed a pair of bronze medals.
Frizell, who holds the Canadian hammer record of 72.24, has had the Pan Am Games in her sights since missing the qualifying standard to compete at the world championships in August by a mere four centimetres.
“This is the first year I have actually shed tears over a season, and that hasn’t happened in a long time,” Frizell said of her frustration. “But it brought a little more focus into my life as to what I need to do to accomplish my goals. It was heartbreaking to miss it by four centimetres. That definitely sucks.”
Frizell’s longest toss Monday could have been even longer, but the wind caught the hammer just enough for the implement to nick the side of the protective throwing cage as she released it.
“I was thinking ‘No, freak you, cage,'” Frizell said, laughing.
Frizell, who trains in Kamloops, B.C., home of Dylan Armstrong, plans to watch the world’s No. 1-ranked shot putter go for gold Tuesday at Telmex Athletics Stadium.
“I’ll be out there cheering on my big brother,” Frizell said.
Ottawa’s Talia Chiarelli, Mikaela Gerber of Cambridge, Ont., Coralie Leblond-Chartrand of Montreal, Christine Lee of Toronto, Dominique Pegg of Sarnia, Ont., and Kristina Vaculik of Whitby, Ont., scored 217.450 points to finish second in the gymnastics all-around event.
The U.S. won gold with 219.750 points while Mexico took bronze with 214.325.
Gentry, from Vancouver, took bronze in the men’s 74-kilogram freestyle wrestling division after he beat Mexico’s Eduardo Valencia on points 3-2.
“It’s kind of exciting,” Gentry said. “There’s lot of energy in the room. it’s my second Pan Am Games bronze medal, so I’m proud of that.”
Toronto’s Pliev added a second bronze in the men’s 96-kg freestyle division with a 4-1 victory over Mexico’s Israel Enrique Silva.
“He was a strong opponent, but today I was stronger,” Pliev said. “It is good to get the bronze on the same day as Matt. We were going for gold, but bronze is good too.”
The four medals increased Canada’s total to 70 (18 gold, 25 silver, 27 bronze). The U.S. leads the medal standings with 161 while Brazil follows with 73.
Canada will be guaranteed at least another medal after the Canadian baseball team advanced to the gold-medal game with a 5-3 win over host Mexico. Toronto’s Tim Smith scored the wnning run on a wild pitch, while Skyler Stromsmoe of Bow Island, Alta., hit a solo homer.
“It feels great,” said Canadian manager Ernie Whitt. “Our goal at the beginning of the tournament was to win gold and we’ve put ourselves in a position to do so.”
Canada will face the U.S. in the final on Tuesday.
Canada’s men’s field hockey team blanked Barbados 10-0 to finish up the preliminary round undefeated.
Vancouver’s Matthew Guest and Scott Tupper recorded a hat trick apiece, while Keegan Pereira of Ajax, Ont., Adam Froese of Abbotsford, B.C., and Mark Pearson and Rob Short of Tsawwassen, B.C., each added singles.
The defending Pan Am champions have outscored their opponents 21-2 over three matches.
“The boys played well today,” said Froese. “We got a couple of goals in early, which brought the confidence level up and allowed us to work on tactics for future games. We’ve got the semifinals now and hopefully the finals after. We hope to bring the same strong performance to those … I scored my first official goal for Team Canada today and it feels great.”
The Games field hockey champion earns an automatic berth in the London Olympics.
Canada’s women’s water polo team, also gunning for an Olympic berth, collected its second straight victory, beating Brazil 13-4.
Joelle Bekhazi of Pointe-Claire, Que., scored a hat trick, while Montreal’s Katrina Moncton, Rosanna Tomiuk, and Marina Radu all had two apiece. Krystina Alogbo of Riviere des Prairies, Que., Whitney Genoway of Regina, Dominique Perreault of Montreal and Monika Eggens of Pitt Meadows, B.C., all had singles.
Canada routed Venezuela 23-2 in its opening game Sunday and is expected to battle the U.S. for gold and an Olympic berth on Saturday.
“Things are going well so far,” said coach Pat Oaten. “I’m happy with the way the girls played today. Our focus is still to play against U.S.A. and this is why this tournament is so hard — to stay focused during the games before. However, against those teams, we can’t be asleep. We could be surprised.”
The men’s water polo team also improved to 2-0 with a 15-10 win over Cuba.
Kevin Graham of Regina and Nicolas Constantin-Bicari of Repentigny, Que., scored four goals, Oliver Vikalo of Calgary added two and Dusko Dakic of Gatineau, Que., Justin Boyd of Beaconsfield, Que., Constantine Kudaba of Port Coquitlam, B.C., Aaron Feltham of Lindsay, Ont., and Devon Diggle of Montreal chipped in with singles.
“Even if we won, we are disappointed for sure,” said Graham. “We did not play at our level. Cuba is a good talented team, but we did not play our game. We allowed them easy goals. We are looking for a team performance, not goals.”
The men’s handball team finished in fifth place after a 26-23 win over Mexico.
Geoffroy Bessett of Montreal scored nine goals to top Canada.