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Eganville's Melissa Bishop is Canada's golden girl

By Anthony Dixon, The Daily Observer

TORONTO – Eganville's Melissa Bishop is Canada's golden girl.

Utilizing great tactics and a perfect race strategy, Bishop saved her best for the last 100 metres of the Women's 800m final at the Pan American Games, overhauling two runners to claim gold, a scant 14/100ths of a second ahead of American Alysia Montano.

Bishop ran the bulk of the race lurking back in third place with Rose Mary Almanza of Cuba taking the lead and Montano in second. Lurking because Bishop was ready to pounce.

The American made her charge first, beginning to reel in Almanza but as the metres clicked down, Bishop too began to charge, following in Montano's footsteps. As Montano overtook Almanza for the lead with just over 100 metres to go, Bishop found another gear and surged forward, at first running side by side with Montano before edging into a lead and winning the race.

Bishop's time at 1:59.62 was nearly her personal best and was sub the magic two minute mark.

Making her Pan Am gold medal accomplishment even more impressive is the fact she sprained her ankle in May and was sidelined for several weeks, only qualifying for the Pan Am games on the second last day.

Bishop's gold is Canada's fifth gold in athletics so far at the Games.

Following the race, draped in a Canadian flag, Bishop greeted and waved to family and friends.

Finishing third was Flavia De Lina of Brazil. Almaza was fourth with Jessica Smith of North Vancouver in fifth.

Anthony Dixon is The Daily Observer's managing editor

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