Tokyo Olympics

‘The City is Behind Her': New London Cheers on Hometown Olympian

India Pagan, a New London native, is competing in the Tokyo Olympics.

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The City of New London is celebrating their hometown Olympian, India Pagan.

Pagan, 22, was born and raised in New London. She made her Olympic debut Tuesday morning, playing basketball for Team Puerto Rico in Tokyo. She is representing the island where both her parents grew up.

“It is amazing. I think it is going to take me years to get over this because we are numb," said Carmen Pagan, India's mother.

Thousands of miles away from Japan, the Pagan family cheered for India during her Olympic debut as if they were in the actual gym. Their cheering could be heard from the sidewalk.

“I am her number one fan. She is the other half of my heart on the other side of the world," said Taina Pagan, India's younger sister. "I am just so proud of her. I am speechless."

Pagan started playing basketball when she was just 11 or 12 years old for New London's recreational league.

“And that’s basically where it all took off was the rec league here in New London," said Moises Pagan, India's father. "The rest is history."

She continued playing in high school where she was an all-state player who ended her high school career with more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

Pagan graduated from Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton in 2017. She was allowed to play for her hometown New London High School because her school didn't have a basketball team.

She went on to star at Stony Brook University, where she currently plays and continues to set records.

"I am impressed with her heart. She puts 110% of her time," said Carmen Pagan, marveling at her daughter's dedication to the game.

Photos: ‘The City is Behind Her'; New London Cheers on Hometown Olympian

Pagan's high school basketball coach said it does not surprise her that Pagan has reached the world stage.

"She just continued to get better and better every year," said Holly Misto, former basketball coach for New London HS. "She was a presence in the paint, humble, an excellent teammate and just a pleasure to coach."

Kasi Fletcher was the interim athletic director in New London when Pagan played for the high school.

"The city is behind her. We are rooting for her," said Fletcher. "She is going to push herself until there's no tomorrow. The sky is the limit."

Team Puerto Rico will play their second Olympics game Thursday night. The Garde Arts Center in New London is hosting a free watch party. The doors open at 8 p.m. The game starts at 9 p.m.

Pagan's family hopes that she can serve as a role-model to anyone who watches her play, but especially to young people in New London.

“If you put your mind to it and your heart, dreams do come true," said India's father, Moises.

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