Record-breaker Lewis seals second gold medal
Bermuda’s Jessica Lewis capped off a memorable Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, by clinching gold in the T53 100 metre final in a record time, to secure her third medal of the Games.
Heading into the race as the reigning 100m champion and Parapan American Games record holder, Lewis blitzed her previous record time of 17.67 seconds, set in Toronto four years ago, crossing the line in 17.36 sec, ahead of Kelsey LeFevour, of the United States in 17.81 and Anahi Lucero Vazquez, of Mexico, in 19.51, to clinch her second gold medal of the competition.
Yesterday’s success completed an impressive haul for Lewis at the Games following the gold she won in the T53 400 final on Saturday and the silver medal she clinched in the women’s T53 800 metres final on Monday.
The 26-year-old made a scintillating start to the Games after storming to victory in the 400 metres final.
She finished in a time of 1:01.95, a second faster than Yen Hoang, of the United States, who came second in 1:02.95. Compatriot LeFevour completed the podium places, finishing third in 1:02.97.
Lewis returned to the track at the beginning of this week and won her second medal, claiming silver in the women’s T53 800 metres final.
More accustomed to the shorter distance races, Lewis, came second in a time of 2min 08.99sec at the Athletics Stadium at the Videna Sports Complex.
Hoang, of the United States, won the race in 2:08.99, with Yadira Soturno Diaz, of Venezuela, finishing a distant third in 2:35.46.
Lewis was guaranteed a medal before the starting pistol with the only three athletes entering the race.
Winning a pair of medals in the longer distances represents a major breakthrough for Lewis, as she has often struggled for sustained power in the 400 and 800. She has credited her improved form to switching to a pair of harder gloves.
The remainder of Bermuda’s contingent at the Games will be kicking off their quest to add further medals to the nation’s haul as the boccia competition starts today.
Steve Wilson, Yushae DeSilva-Andrade and Omar Hayward will all be in action with Wilson competing in the BC1 classification pool and DeSilva-Andrade and Hayward going head to head as part of the BC4 classification pool.
Wilson and DeSilva-Andrade have previous experience at the Games, having represented Bermuda in Toronto four years ago, while for Hayward the event marks his debut in the competition, having already gained major international experience including at the 2018 world Championships in Liverpool.
For Wilson, who at the age of 70, upset the odds to clinch gold at the Buenos Aires Regional Open in Argentina last year, overcoming the sport’s top players from North, Central and South America, he is adamant about his ambition for the Games.
“I’m going for gold, that’s what I want to go for,” said Wilson.
“I’ve played most of the guys out there and beaten them before, it is just a case of fine-tuning my game and make sure I hit my shots.
“I love the Pan Am Games and I’m just itching to get back there and do what I do.
“I’ve been before and it was huge for me back then. I can learn from that experience and do what I have to do this time around.
“All three of us stand a chance of winning a medal and it would be incredible if we could do that.”
DeSilva-Andrade echoed her compatriots sentiments as she also targets a place on the podium.
“I’m really excited about going to the Pan Am Games this time around because back in 2015 I was in the wrong division and so this time around I’m a little more hopeful of doing well,” she said.
“I’m hopeful of placing in the medals, that would be amazing.”
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