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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 August, 2003, 00:26 GMT 01:26 UK
Games get under way
Cuba got off to a winning start in women's basketball, beating USA 84-62
Cuba got off to a winning start in women's basketball, beating USA 84-62
Cuban shooter Eglis Cruz earned the first gold medal of the 2003 Pan American Games on Saturday after winning the women's air rifle competition.

The games, which officially opened on Friday night, include 5,325 athletes from 42 countries participating in 35 events.

"I came with expectations but I never thought I'd experience happiness like this," the 22-year-old Cruz said.

"It's always important to win a gold. But this time I hope it has even more importance because it can pave the way for many more Cuban victories."

American Melissa Mulloy took the silver and Argentina's Amelia Fournel bronze. Cruz scored 497.4 points, Mulloy 492.8 and Fournel 492.5.

The next four golds went to the US, including two in the fencing, where Dan Kellner won the men's individual foil and Sada Jacobson the women's individual sabre.

The women's team gymnastics won a third gold, while Jason Turner took gold in the men's 10 metre air pistol.

Cuba took the day's last remaining gold by winning the men's team gymnastics ahead of Brazil and the US.

In women's basketball, Yaquelin Plutin helped Cuba get off to a winning start as it continued its domination over the United States, winning 84-62.

Plutin, who scored 18 points, led her team back from a 14-point deficit at half-time.

The Cubans began the third quarter by scoring 15 unanswered points as the Americans went cold from the field.

Ann Strother and Laurie Koehn each scored 11 for the Americans, who managed only 16 points in the second half.

In other games, Brazil beat Canada 62-53 and Argentina beat Dominican Republic 76-52.

In men's basketball, Puerto Rico beat Uruguay 89-72.

Defending men's football champions Mexico were held to a 1-1 draw by Guatemala in Group A.

Diego Martinez got the equaliser for Mexico from the penalty spot in the 75th minute. Fredy Thompson opened the scoring for Guatemala in the 46th minute.

Rulon Gardner, the American wrestler who upset Russian great Alexander Karelin in the 2002 Olympics, won his first match 4-0 over Edwin Millet of Puerto Rico.





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