Pan Am racquetball champion would like to be in Olympics

BY foxsports • July 24, 2015

TORONTO (AP) Paola Longoria of Mexico has won all that she can.

She's the two-time defending world champion in both singles and doubles in racquetball, and on Friday she won gold in both singles and doubles at the Pan Am Games.

Nothing wrong with that, expect that Longoria wishes her sport were in the Olympics.

''It's too bad,'' she said. ''We're not in those games, so this and the world championships are the tops for me.''

Longoria defeated Bolivia-born Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina 15-12, 15-9.

Later in doubles she paired with Samantha Salas to defeat Vargas and Veronique Guillemette 15-3, 15-4.

''Paola is such a strong player and very difficult to beat,'' Vargas said.

Longoria could be speaking for hundreds of athletes at the Pan Am Games whose sports are played in the Pan Am Games, but won't be present next year in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

A few of those sports have made overtures to be included in the crowded Olympic agenda. Baseball and softball are former Olympic sports, both of which were eliminated after the 2008 Beijing Games.

Many of the non-Olympic sports in the Pan Am Games have little chance.

The full list of non-Olympic sports include: waterski and wakeboard, women's baseball, baseball, softball, bowling, karate, racquetball and squash.

''My biggest dream would be to win an Olympic medal for my country,'' Longoria said. ''But that depends on the sports federations and not me.''

Longoria has been the No. 1-ranked woman in the sport for six years, and wants to make it seven.

''That's my next goal,'' Longoria said.

Longoria made a pitch for her sport in the singles final, and opponent Vargas was a ringing endorsement as she dived on the floor repeatedly to save points.

''It's an explosive sport, very complete,'' Longoria said. ''You have to have great speed and reflexes. I'm not diminishing the value of the other sports that are in the Olympics, but I think racquetball should be in.''


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