INDIANAPOLIS -- Mexico's Carlos Mercenario, world champion in the 20-kilometer walk, set a Pan American Games record in the event Monday in a race marred by an injury to 1984 Olympic champion Ernesto Canto of Mexico.
Mercenario took the gold in 1:24:50, finishing 200 meters ahead of runner-up Tim Lewis of Colorado Springs, Colo. Colombia's Querubin Moreno was third. Mercenario broke the record of 1:28:12 set by Canto in 1983.
'The time was very good. I have run 1:19 before but it's different here because it is so humid. It takes a similar effort,' Mercenario said through an interpreter.
Canto was trailing only Mercenario when he pulled a hamstring in his left leg 6.5 kilometers into the race. Canto was the defending champion and favorite in the event, having the fastest entry time of the 13 runners.
'I felt nothing and then, boom,' Canto said. 'I wasn't going that fast either. This is the first time I've ever been injured, too. Never before.'
A medical team treated the hamstring pull and Canto was helped off the course by Mexican track teammates. Canto refused to be taken to a city hospital and was treated by team physicians. He was taken to a physical therapist at the athletes village.
Canto is confident he will recover in time to compete in the World Track and Field Championships, which begin Aug. 29 in Rome.
'I think it is not too bad. I hope I can compete at Rome. There is about 20 days to the race, so I may have some time,' Canto said.
Mercenario, 20, of Mexico City accelerated after Canto's early departure, Lewis said.
'We were all right together when Canto went out. Carlos right after that accelerated dramatically. I backed off a little. I took a chance but my goal was to stay strong at the end of the race. I was very happy I didn't lapse at the end of the race,' he said.