History was made in the men’s and women’s Junior Pan American Championships as Chile men and Canada women both won the titles for the first time.
For Chile men, this was momentous as no other team has displaced Argentina since the event started in 1978.
Canada women will be delighted to have improved hugely on their 2016 performance when they finished fourth, but it was also a huge achievement for second placed Uruguay whose previous best finish had been fifth.
It was total joy for the junior men’s team Chile as they defeated Argentina 3-2 in a shoot out after the final finished with the teams drawn at 1-1. Both teams qualify for the Junior World Cup to be held in India at the end of the year, with third placed USA securing a reserve spot after they beat Canada – also following a shoot-out.
The home crowd at the hockey stadium in Santiago, Chile, were delirious when Chile captain Andrés Pizarro put his side ahead following a period of intense pressure. The score remained in Chile’s favour until the final moments of the match, when Argentina’s Tobias Viviana brought the scores level.
In the shoot-out, goals from Francisco Cerda, Benjamin Koster and Kai Gesswein sealed the win and Chile were able to celebrate their first Junior Pan American Championship title.
Canada women also secured their first ever title at this event when they beat the hard working Uruguay side in a close 1-0 match. The Uruguay goalkeeper Maria Bate must be credited with keeping her team in the match as she made several top quality saves to withstand periods of Canadian attack.
The Uruguay defence was finally breached by Canada’s Anna Mollenhahuer, who crashed home a penalty corner just seven minutes from full-time. Uruguay were unable to turn their creative passing game into goals and Canada were able to celebrate a win at the end of a fine tournament.
Canada and Uruguay will now compete at the Junior World Cup in South Africa at the end of the year.
They will be joined by the USA, who defeated Chile 3-2 on shoot-out after the scores finished at 1-1 in the match.
In the two tournaments, Teague Marcano of Trinidad and Tobago and Hope Rose of USA were men’s and women’s Player of the Tournament. The Goalkeeper of the Tournament awards went to Chile’s Agustin Araya and Maria Bate of Uruguay and the top goal scorers were Pizarro of Chile and Charlotte Vries of USA.
In an exciting addition to the hockey competition in Santiago, the Hockey Inclusivo Chile organisation ran an inclusive hockey event to raise awareness of the development if Hockey ID in Chile.
Following the second men’s semi final between Chile and USA, Hockey Inclusivo Chile invited all the spectators to stay and join in a Hockey ID practice session.
One of the drivers behind the Hockey ID movement in Chile is former international Daniela Caram. She said: “Special Olympics and the National Hockey Federation are fully supporting this project and are happy to make it happen as well!”
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Trinidad and Tobago