Robbi Weldon and Lyne Bessette win fourth gold on Day Seven at the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara

Video available at SendtoNews.com

GUADALAJARA, Nov. 19, 2011 /CNW/ - It's been a perfect Games for visually impaired cyclist Robbi Weldon (Thunder Bay, ON) and her pilot Lyne Bessette (Knowlton, QC) as they captured their fourth tandem cycling gold medal in as many races at the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The win by the powerful duo highlighted another strong day by the cycling squad, which picked up five medals today. In addition, the Canadian women's goalball team won the bronze medal; the men's wheelchair basketball team won bronze and the women's wheelchair basketball team won silver.

"I'm feeling really good," said Weldon. "Four gold medals in a week is a first for us and it's a wonderful feeling knowing we will go home with four gold medals. I cross-country skied for years and I had a very high level of fitness when I came into cycling [after competing at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games]. I've learned tons in the last year. It's very helpful having Lyne. She is such an experienced cyclist and she has taught me a lot."

Today's eight medals - two gold, two silver and four bronze - bring the Canadian team's total medal tally to 62, including 13 gold, 22 silver and 27 bronze medals.

This morning, the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport) toured the Athlete Village and met with Canadian athletes.

"As I visited with our athletes today, I was struck by this amazing source of national pride," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "Canada's athletes are inspirational role models for all Canadians. I was honoured to have the opportunity to meet some of the members of Team Canada and to benefit from their perspectives on what it means to take part in an elite high-performance sport event like the Parapan American Games."

Medals won by Canadians today:

Goalball

BRONZE - Women's team

Wheelchair Basketball

  • SILVER - Women's team
  • BRONZE - Men's team

Cycling

  • GOLD - Myriam Adam (St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu, QC) in the women's hand cycle road race
  • GOLD - Robbi Weldon (Thunder Bay, ON) and Lyne Bessette (Knowlton, QC) in the women's visually impaired tandem road race
  • SILVER - Marie-Claude Molnar (Ste-Adèle, QC) in the women's bicycle road race
  • BRONZE - Marie-Ève Croteau (Québec, QC) in the women's tri-cycle road race
  • BRONZE - Daniel Chalifour (St-Jérome, QC) and pilot Ed Veal (Queensville, ON) in men's visually impaired tandem road race

Cycling

The Canadian Para-cycling Team concluded on a high note its participation at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, winning a total of five medals today.

The five medals collected on the last day of cycling competition bring the total cycling medal tally to 13, with four on the track and nine on the road.

The Canadian women's tandem of Robbi Weldon (Thunder Bay, ON) and Lyne Bessette (Knowlton, QC) won their fourth gold in as many races, this time coming in the road race.

Myriam Adam (St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu, QC), racing in the women's hand cycle, also took the gold medal in the mixed road race, her first career international victory.

"I tried to follow the advice of my coaches as I am still learning quite a bit," said Adam. "Honestly, I think I really improved in learning when to pass people. I won a silver medal at a World Cup in Baie-Comeau, QC, and this is my first international gold medal. I am very happy."

In the Women's C bicycle road race, Marie-Claude Molnar (Ste-Adèle, QC) won the silver medal, her second medal of these Games.

In the men's tandem road race, Daniel Chalifour (St-Jérome, QC) and pilot Ed Veal (Toronto, ON) took their fourth medal of the games and second bronze medal. The duo, formed only for this event, has surpassed the challenges of learning to race together in a short time.

"We had a great week," Chalifour said. "We won the maximum number of points for Canada on the track and on the road and we can proudly say mission accomplished. It was a tough day for us. Sometimes, after too many laps, I couldn't feel my legs anymore. I had to find the energy to push all the way to the end. Close to the end, we tried to win the sprint but the pedal unclipped and so we lost momentum. It could have been better, but we tried our best."

In the women's tricycle race, 2011 World Cup Champion Marie-Ève Croteau (Québec, QC) won the bronze medal in her road race, despite caring for an injury sustained earlier in Guadalajara.

"I am feeling both good and bad," said Croteau. "I feel bad as I fell in the time trial race and suffered some bruising, and feeling some pain in the ribs with difficult breathing. I didn't accomplish what I wanted to do, but still came third. Considering those circumstances, I am satisfied with the results. I gave it my all, and I think it's a good result after all."

Goalball

The Canadian women's goalball team showed up this morning for the bronze medal match against Mexico, eager to demonstrate what they were capable of after losing the semi-final to Brazil a day earlier.

Canada wasted no time in potting several quick goals and by the end of half time the score was 8-0. It then took less than two minutes in to the second half for Canada to increase their lead to 10-0, causing the game to be stopped due to the mercy rule.

Canada was able to play their entire bench and goal-scoring was spread out among the team.

"It was just important to come out and play well today," said head coach Janice Dawson (Calgary, AB). "We were frustrated with our loss yesterday, not just about losing but how we played. The girls wanted to come out and play like they know they can play, finish the tournament solid and strong."

Canada's goals were scored by Nancy Morin (Longueuil, QC) with four and Cassandra Orgeles (Nepean, ON), Whitney Bogart (Ottawa, ON) and Ashlie Andrews (Penticton, BC) with two each.

"It was a good game," said Bogart. "We came off a tough loss yesterday and it didn't faze us. We did everything we needed to do to succeed."

This afternoon, the Canadian men's goalball team also faced Mexico in the bronze medal match, but couldn't match the hometown team, losing a shocker, 14-8.

"It was a very disappointing performance," said goalball team manager Michael Longeran (New Westminster, BC). "We can do much better. There's not much else to say, unfortunately."

The team was without the expertise of veteran Mario Caron (St-Eustache, QC), who was out with an injury. Bruno Haché (Dorval, QC) was the Canadian team's leading scorer and top player in the game.

Though the men's team goes home empty-handed from Guadalajara, they had already qualified earlier this year for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Brazil won the men's title and the U.S. won the women's.

Wheelchair Basketball

The Canadian Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team will compete in London at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games following a 60-42 bronze medal victory over hometown Mexico on Saturday.

"We had to feel pressure, it was a must win game," said Jerry Tonello, Team Canada Head Coach. "You don't get a chance to replicate that too often in your career, in secondary tournaments. You do at Paralympics and at other major Games, but to have this situation here is priceless, one that I don't want to have to go through too often." 

Patrick Anderson (Fergus, ON) was the game's high scorer with 27 points and 12 rebounds. He has been an offensive juggernaut for the Canucks, averaging a tournament-leading 22.8 points per game. David Eng (Montreal, QC) potted the game's second highest tally with 16 points. He also added 12 rebounds. 

The bronze medal is Canada's fourth consecutive podium appearance the Parapan American Games, having finished first in 2003 and second in 1999 and 2007. 

With the top three men's teams in the tournament earning a berth into the Paralympics, it was a must win for Canada who started the tournament 4-0 before losing a shocker to Colombia in the semi-finals Friday.

"Ultimately, we are satisfied," said Anderson. "We will need to do a little bit of soul searching, find out what when wrong yesterday, that will only help us. When you lose a game like that, you can't focus on the loss. You have to remember how good you are and focus on the next step."

The Canadian Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team earned the silver medal this evening after a 69-31 loss to rival USA in the championship game. Both teams guaranteed themselves a spot at the London 2012 Paralympic Summer Games by placing in the top three in Guadalajara.

"It's unfortunate that tonight we didn't bring our A-game, but I think we are continuing to build and I think we have some pretty aggressive plans for the next year to build toward a gold medal in London," said Team Canada Head Coach Bill Johnson. "We always said it's a process and we have been building toward it."

Cindy Ouellet (Quebec, QC) scored a game-leading 17 points for the Canadians, while teammate Janet McLachlan (West Vancouver, BC) tallied eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

Canada concluded the tournament with a 4-1 record and reached the podium for the fourth time in four appearances at the Parapan American Games, following gold medal finishes in1999 and 2003 and a silver medal in 2007.

"This tournament was a great opportunity to test ourselves out, to try out some new things, and see where we are, and honestly we are in a good place," said Tracey Ferguson (Toronto, ON). "This was a great opportunity and we are going to build from here. We have 10 months of preparation and we are focused, we know excactly what we have to do, and I think these games give us motivation to play, to train and to practice that much harder."

Swimming

Canada fielded a young developmental swimming team for the Parapan American Games this week and it paid off big time as the squad produced 17 medals and gained valuable international experience as the pool races concluded Saturday.

The 20-member squad, which has an average age of 18, earned three gold, six silver and eight bronze over seven days to rank sixth in the swimming medal standings and was one of the highest medal-producing sports for Canada at the Games.

The Canadian swimmers here are prospects for the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto and the 2016 Paralympic Games, although some made such a strong impression this week they could be in the mix for next year's Paralympics in London.

On Saturday, fourth-place finishes were earned by Zack McAllister of Lethbridge, Alta., in the S9 category 100 freestyle, 13-year-old Micah Mykitiuk of Toronto S10 100 freestyle and McAllister, Mykitiuk, Chris Sergeant-Tsonos of Kingston, Ont., and Jean-Sébastien Lapointe of Repentigny, Que. in the 4x100 metres medley relay.

Other men's results: Thomas Swinkels of Lower Sackville, N.S., was fifth in the S10 100 freestyle; Andrew Cooke of Penticton, B.C., sixth in the S5 200 freestyle; Nicolas Turbide of Quebec City sixth in the S13 100 freestyle; Chris Daniel of Calgary and Nik Tolgyesi of Kingston, seventh and eighth in the S6 100 backstroke; and Lapointe seventh in the S7 100 backstroke.

For the women, Kennedy Pasay of Leduc, Alta., was sixth in the S9 100 freestyle; Danielle Kisser of Delta, B.C., and Jenna Lambert of Kingston, seventh and eighth in the S6 100 backstroke and Catherine Mitchell of Winnipeg 10th in the S12 100 freestyle.

Note to Editors: Broadcast-standard video and mp3 files are available for media via SendtoNews: www.sendtonews.com.

Photos are available in the Image Bank at Paralympic.ca. Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee.

For more information about Team Canada in Guadalajara, please visit www.paralympic.ca/guadalajara2011.

SOURCE CANADIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE (CPC)

For further information:

Mark Dottori
Tel in Guadalajara: 011 52 331 602 9302
mdottori@paralympic.ca

Alison Korn
Tel in Guadalajara: 011 52 331 600 9399
akorn@paralympic.ca

Web: Paralympic.ca
Facebook: Facebook.com/CDNParalympics
Twitter: @CDNParalympics
YouTube: YouTube.com/CDNParalympics

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