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The Garde livestreams Olympic game with hometown hero India Pagan

New London— With fans not allowed to attend the Olympics in Tokyo, the Pagan family felt let down, having traveled with India Pagan to all of her games.

Thursday night, Carmen and Moises Pagan got to see their daughter on the big screen at the Garde Arts Center, representing their home island, Puerto Rico, on the women's basketball team as it faced off against Belgium.

"Sometimes one says a dream like this is unreachable," said Moises Pagan, India's father. "But today we see the payoff of all of her hard work, all the years playing, traveling, and tournaments."

Before the game started, India's parents and younger sister, Taina, spoke briefly, thanking everyone for attending. Behind them India appeared as she was being introduced in the game, holding up two L's for New London.

Moises said that as her parents, they are "enjoying the ride" of India's journey and incredibly thankful for how supportive the community has been from the beginning.

Receiving permission from NBC to show the livestream, the Garde hosted family, friends and community members to watch the New London native play her second Olympic game. The center had musicians play both the U.S. and Puerto Rico anthems.

"The town has never had a female athlete at this caliber," said Efren Dominguez Jr., present president of New London's City Council, who helped put the event together. "We're thrilled!"

Family members on vacation from Puerto Rico also were in town to celebrate and watch India play at the Garde.

India's uncle Dixon Torres and cousin Tatina Torres were excited. They said they had watched her practice in Puerto Rico before she left for Tokyo.

Many of India's classmates from New London High School also were in attendance.

"She set records in New London," said Tareonna Alger-Rodriguez, who went to school with India. "I'll never forget the quarter-finals in 2017."

India played for New London's High School girls' basketball team from 2014 to 2017 and is a graduate of the Marine Science Magnet High School.

She played for New London' first state championship team in 2014 and led the Whalers to the 2017 Class LL state championship, playing in three state title games overall. As Stony Brook, where she will be a graduate student in the fall, India has scored 1,000 points.

Wanda Morales, India's cousin, said this was a big deal not only for the family but for New London.

"New London has never had an Olympian," she said. "From here to the moon, I always told her, 'I'm going to see you in the WNBA one day.'"

j.vazquez@theday.com

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