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  • Basketball, Volleyball Off and Running in Lima


    (ATR) Fifteen medals in five sports are on offer Wednesday at the Pan American Games in Lima.

    USA cruised past Virgin Islands in its opener (Lima 2019)
    For three of the sports – artistic gymnastics, artistic swimming and squash – it also signals the end to their competition at the Games. Equestrian runs until August 9 while shooting is completed on August 3.

    At the start of the day, the United States leads the medals table with 28 gold and 64 total. Mexico is second with 13 gold and 43 total medals with Brazil in third with 34 medals, 10 of them gold.

    The host country Peru is 8th, with four golds among a total of 11 medals.

    Two of the major team sports, basketball and volleyball, began on Wednesday. The men’s basketball program tipped off with the United States easily defeating the Virgin Islands 119-84 in a game that started at 10:30 in the morning.

    The USA, which won bronze at Toronto in 2015, consists of an all-star team from the Big East Conference, one of the best college basketball leagues in the United States. It’s hoped the change in the traditional team selection process will help the USA win gold at the Pan Ams for the first time since 1983.

    Defending men’s volleyball champion Argentina begins defense of the title later today against Cuba. Brazil, which fell in the final in Toronto, plays in the late session against Mexico.

    Ticket sales for the event continue to be brisk. Lima 2019 spokesman Carlos Manuel Lazarte told reporters at his morning briefing that more than 450,000 tickets have been sold, at an average of about 25,000 per day since the Opening Ceremony.

    Lazarte says the venues other than soccer are filled at 81 percent available capacity. Soccer is not included, he says, because it is being played at the San Marcos Stadium, which holds 22,500 people and is a much bigger venue than needed for the sport.

    Transportation in general and specifically for the media remains an issue. There are continuing complaints, including a lack of buses to take journalists from the venues back to the main press center after late sessions.

    In answering a question from Around the Rings, Lazarte said changes were coming.

    “Today we have opened a transport help desk here at the main press center that will not only give more information but updates on the schedules. We have been working around the clock to improve the frequency of the transport system and we would expect that from today onwards you will see a positive change.”

    Written and reported by Gerard Farek in Lima

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