Canada’s first Pan Am medal a gold in kayaking


WELLAND, Ont. – Canada has won its first medal of the Pan American Games — a gold in women’s kayaking.

The Canadian crew finished first in the K-4 500 metres in one minute 36.495 seconds.

Cuba finished second followed by Argentina.

Michelle Russell of Fall River,N.S., Emile Fournel of Montreal, KC Fraser of Oakville, Ont., and Hannah Vaughan of Dartmouth, N.S., edged the Cubans by 1.17 seconds.

The race was the first final of the Games, which officially opened Friday in Toronto.

It’s a promising start for the Canadian team, which has set a goal of finishing in the top two in the overall medal count.

Canadian chef de mission Curt Harnett has estimated the host team of 719 athletes needs to rake in about 200 medals over the 16 days of competition to hit that target.