Canada won 27 medals in six different sports on Thursday at the Parapan American Games.
The 216-member Canadian squad is solidly entrenched in second place overall in the medal standings with 43 gold, 51 silver and 46 bronze for 140 total. Brazil is tops with 210 and the U.S. is third at 110.
Canada stepped to the podium in para-swimming, para-athletics, para-cycling, judo, table tennis and earned an historic medal in wheelchair tennis. Canada is also headed to gold medal finals in wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby and bronze medal matches in men’s and women’s sitting volleyball and football 7.
Daniel Chalifour and his pilot Alexandre Cloutier collected a third gold medal as they led a Canadian medal sweep in the visually impaired time trial on Thursday at the Parapan American Games.
Canadian para-cyclists rode to the podium five more times to cap an impressive 11-medal tally at the Games.
In the mixed time trial for visually impaired, Chalifour and Cloutier clocked 26 minutes and 47.11 seconds. Robbi Weldon of Thunder Bay, Ont., and Audrey Lemieux of Montreal took silver in 26:58.04 and Shawna Ryan of Saskatoon and Joanie Caron of Rimouski, Que., were third at 27:47.62.
”A super week,” said Chalifour, also first in the pursuit and one kilometre time trial on the track and second in the road race last weekend. ”We came in here with some question marks but we performed beyond our expectations. It’s hard to ask for better.”
Shelley Gautier of Toronto added a silver in the mixed T1-2 class and Charles Moreau of Victoriaville, Que., was third in the H1-5 class.
”I really had to stay focused with the wind changes,” said Gautier, the reigning women’s world champion. ”I had a big desire to win.”
”I couldn’t be happier,” said Moreau, also a bronze medallist in the road race. ”I was well prepared and it was nice comeback here after the world championships and have such strong performances.”
Ian Kent of Eastern Passage, N.S. and Masoud Mojtahed, a former Montreal and Vancouver resident, led Canada to the silver medal in men’s team play in table tennis on Thursday morning at the Parapan American Games.
Kent and Mojtahed lost the championship final to Luiz Manara and Paulo Salmin of Brazil 2-0 in a highly entertaining match.
”Being at home in Canada we put our best foot forward and we tried our very best,” said Kent, a 2008 Paralympian, diagnosed with dystonia in 1999. ”We didn’t play a bad match, we just played against a good team that was a bit better than us.”
”We feel great about winning the silver medal for Canada.”
In the opening doubles match the Brazilians grabbed a 1-0 lead defeating the Canadians 11-13, 11-7, 11-2, 12-10. After the Brazilians lost the opening game and fell behind early in the second they called a time out which seemed to change the whole chemistry of the match.
“They started playing more aggressive,” said Mojtahed, diagnosed with polio as an infant. ”We kind of backed-off but came back strong late in the fourth but it was too late.’
Joel Dembe of Toronto and Philippe Bedard of Bromont, Que., won the bronze medal in men’s doubles as wheelchair tennis action concluded on Thursday at the Parapan American Games.
It is the first time Canada has won a wheelchair tennis medal at a major Games.
Dembe and Bedard defeated Steve Baldwin and Jon Rydberg of the U.S. 6-4, 6-2 in the match for third place.
“Leaving on a high note is fantastic,” said Dembe. “We are proud of winning the match today and coming away with a medal. We played solid tennis we stuck to our strategy, we didn’t ever give up on it and it worked.”
For Bedard, Thursday’s medal was a career highlight. He was off the court for seven weeks due to an injury earlier this year.
“We’ve dreamed about a medal for a long time,” he said. “For me it’s been a big battle to get to this point and a bit of as miracle that I am here.
“But I always believed.”
Alex Radoman of Hamilton captured the bronze medal in the mens’ -81kg category today at the Abilities Centre in front of a wall of cheering Canadians. He beat American Ryan Jones by Ippon in a mere minute and twenty eight seconds.
A tough first match put Radoman against the number one ranked Eduardo Avila of Mexico, the latter taking the win by Ippon in a minute and twenty two seconds. Avila went on snag the gold medal over Jose Effron of Argentina.
“I just went out there and did what I could, knowing my strategy going into the match,” said Radoman. ”It’s been a little bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I haven’t had some success in a little while – I’m going to use this to fuel myself.”
With a silver medal for Priscilla Gagne in the womens’ -52kg division on Wednesday, the Canadian judo squad is certainly making a name for themselves on the international stage. Tony Walby is up next in the mens’ -90kg category on Friday.
Alexandre Dupont and his wife Ilana Dupont of Clarenceville, Que., combined for three medals in athletics on Thursday and each will have something to brag about when they get home.
Alexandre Dupont earned one of Canada’s three gold medals with a victory in the men’s T54 800-m wheelchair race. Dupont clocked one minute and 40.67 seconds for the victory edging compatriot Josh Cassidy of Port Elgin, Ont., second in 1:41.18.
The initial race was marred by a crash which forced a rerun later on in the evening.
“I’m happy with my race,” said Dupont. “I think showed I’m number-one here in this event.”
Canada’s other athletics gold was earned by Kyle Whitehouse of London, Ont., in the T38 200-m. Whitehouse clocked a Games record 23.66 seconds in the eight-man final for his second podium trip of the Games.
Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., opened the day’s action with a victory in the T53 800-m wheelchair race for his second gold this week. He’ll go for the hat trick in Friday’s 400-m
Ilana Dupont didn’t win gold but she did reach the podium twice. She took silver in the T53 200-m wheelchair race with Jessica Frotten of Whitehorse third. Dupont added a bronze in the T53 800-m.
“I’m really excited to be on the podium with Jessica,” said Dupont. “She’s someone I’ve seen improve over the years and I was really hoping we could share a moment like this.”
Aurelie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., won her fifth gold and Sarah Mehain of Vernon, B.C., notched her first win as Canada’s para-swimming team continued its incredible performance at the Games with 12 more medals.
Rivard splashed to victory in the S10 100-m backstroke in a Parapan Games record one minute, 9.72 seconds. The 19-year-old wasn’t feeling well and had considered not swimming the race.
“After the 400-m, this is the race I’m the happiest to swim well,” she said. “I didn’t know how fast the other girls would swim so I told myself to just give what I’ve got. I gave everything I had and nothing less. If the race was 101 meters, I’m sure I wouldn’t be talking right now.”
Mehain clocked a Parapan Games record 37.07 to win the S7 50-m fly. The win came after two second-place finishes.
“It’s fun to finally get up there and use that little bit of racing strategy,” said the Vernon, B.C., native who now attends McGill University. “More than that, it was the time and the technical aspects I have been working on. It feels so good to be able to get a best time.”
Canada’s other swimming medallists Thursday were:
Silver: 4X100 men’s freestyle relay (Nathan Stein, Surrey, B.C.; Zack McAllister, Lethbridge, Alta.; Zach Zona, Waterford, Ont.; Jean-Michel Lavalliere, Quebec City); Benoit Huot, Longueuil, Que., S10 100-m backstroke; Morgan Bird, Calgary, S8 100-m freestyle; McAllister S8 100-m freestyle; Lavalliere S7 50-m freestyle; Nicolas Turbide, Quebec City, S13 100-m freestyle.
Bronze: Adam Purdy, London, Ont., S6 50-m butterfly; Alec Elliot, Kitchener, Ont., 100-m backstroke; Nathan Clement, West Vancouver, S9 100-m backstroke.
With a 62-38 semi-final win over Brazil, Canada has earned a chance for redemption against Team USA in the gold medal game of the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. The winner also earns a ticket to the 2016 Paralympics.
Canada lost to their American rivals in double overtime on Wednesday in a thrilling preliminary round match that captured the attention of the Canadian public.
“We came out and played our style of ‘Canada rugby’ today and that’s what we need to do tomorrow,” said head coach Kevin Orr after the game. “We’re looking forward to this rematch. These are the games you live for.”
The silver medalist will have to attend a wildcard tournament to qualify. Canada takes on the USA tomorrow at 9 pm at the Mississauga Sports Center.
A dominant first quarter in their semifinal matchup against Argentina was essentially all that Canada’s Parapan Am Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team needed to advance to Friday’s Toronto 2015 gold medal final against the USA.
Canada claimed its fourth consecutive victory by toppling Argentina 82-28. With the win Canada remains undefeated.
Canada opened the game with a 17-point run and never looked back. Arinn Young, of Legal, Alta., scored eight points of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter alone to help the Canucks establish a comfortable 27-5 lead after ten minutes.
Cindy Ouellet, of Quebec, Que., paced the floor with four assists and five steals to go along with her 11-point performance. Two other Canadians, Janet McLachlan, of Vancouver, B.C., and Rosalie Lalonde, of St-Clet, Que., each put up 10 points.
Story and Photo from the Canadian Paralympic Committee | Paralympic.ca