Canada nets four gold medals on day four at the Paralympic Games



    BEIJING, China, Sept. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Chantal Petitclerc and Dean
Bergeron raced to gold on the track, while Valerie Grand'Maison with a world
record at the pool and Lauren Barwick on her horse Maile added today to
Canada's gold tally.
    In a race that saw Chantal Petitclerc (Montreal, QC) fall far back of two
Chinese racers at the start, the Canadian speedster mounted an incredible
surge to take the gold in a time of 16.15 in the women's 100m in the T54
category.
    "I wanted to start with a gold medal and have something good in the bag.
I haven't raced this late at night a lot so it added a little bit more
pressure but still I felt good," said Petitclerc.
    "The race was intense. It's really rare that I have to close such a gap.
I concentrated on my technique, but the level of competition has intensified,
and we had to fight right to the end," she added. "The 100m is my most
difficult race, and I'm really happy with my performance, but I must put it
behind me and concentrate on the next (races)."
    "It was nerve wrecking and exiting at the same time," said Petitclerc's
coach Peter Eriksson.
    Bergeron won gold in the men's 200m in the T52 final in 30.81. The
distance is Bergeron's specialty and he holds the world record in this event.
    "Because this track event at the Paralympic Games went directly to
finals, and with the loud crowd, you really had to concentrate. I'm satisfied
with my performance and relieved," said Bergeron. "I had a great start, and I
knew if I relaxed and stayed focused, I would be there."
    Competing in the same race as Bergeron, Andre Beaudoin (Montreal, QC)
finished in fourth place in 32.07, less than a hundredth of a second behind
Thailand's Peth Rungsri.
    "At a certain point, I lost concentration and I wasn't able to reach the
speeds I wanted," he said.
    In the women's 400m in the T53 final, Ilana Duff (Bradwell, SK) finished
sixth in 58.93, a season best, in the 400m final in the T53 final.

    Swimming

    Swimming phenomenon Valerie Grand'Maison (Montreal) broke her second
world record in Beijing today as she swam to her third gold medal at the
Games. Her world record time of 58.87 came in the women's 100m freestyle in
the S13 category.
    "My suit ripped in the ready room and I freaked out! I had lent my extra
suit to Kirby because hers had ripped minutes earlier. Luckily, my coach found
another suit but it was stressful for a few minutes," said Grand'Maison. "I am
so happy with this race - another gold and a world record. I keep trying to
manage myself; eating right, getting enough sleep and avoiding distractions.
I'm enjoying this whole experience."
    In the same event, Chelsey Gotell (Antigonish, NS) got the bronze in
1:00.26, while Kirby Cote (Winnipeg, MB) finished fifth in 1:00.95.
    "I have been practicing holding my breath a lot and all that practice has
paid off," said Gotell.
    In the women's 100m backstroke in the S7 category, Brianna Nelson
(Victoria, BC) finished sixth in 1:30.43, and Laura Jensen (North Vancouver,
BC) in 1:31.90.
    Drew Christensen (New Westminster, BC) finished eighth in a Canadian
record time of 1:15.49 in the S8 men's 100m backstroke.
    Failing to qualify in the morning preliminaries were Brian Hill (fifteen
in the S13 100m freestyle in 59.80), Andrea Cole (tenth in the S8 women's 100m
backstroke in 1:39.26) and Jacqueline Rennebohm (eleventh in the S12 women's
200m individual medley in 2:59.14).

    Equestrian

    Lauren Barwick (Langley, BC) added a second medal to the silver she
earned earlier - this time a gold in the freestyle test in the Grade II
category with a total score of 72.776. Riding her horse Maile, she topped a
field of 16 others.
    Her dressage routine was performed to an Asian tune, she said, "because
it was a way of saying thank you to China for these Paralympic Games."
    "My horse has a lot of heart and desire. And if she didn't have that
heart today, we wouldn't have won the medal," said Barwick. "To have achieved
a silver and a gold in the Paralympics is just far more than I ever expected.
I just asked Maile to do her best in the ring and she gave it all to me."
    In the grade IV category, Karen Brain (Saanichton, BC), on Vdl Odette,
finished 10 with a score of 62.136, and Eleonore Elstone (Langley, BC), on
Lutke, was 12th with a score of 60.683.

    Archery

    Norbert Murphy (Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC) beat American Chuck Lear 98-75
today in the men's individual compound in the W1 category. He advances to the
head-to-head quarterfinals on Friday morning against Osmo Kinnunun of Finland.
    "I had a feeling I was going to win. This was a good round for me," said
Murphy, who shot a 10 with his last arrow. "I was really concentrated as I had
to finish with a good arrow. I shoot better under pressure."
    Lyne Tremblay (Magog, QC) was eliminated by Lenka Kuncova, of the Czech
Republic, in the women's individual recurve in the W1/W2 category. Tremblay
shot a 49, while her opponent scored 84.
    "I have learned a lot this week and I am going to take what I have
learned back home with me and work hard. This whole experience has been
wonderful - I am a Paralympian, what more can I ask for?" said Tremblay.
    On Thursday, Kevin Evans (Jaffray, BC) plays next in the men's individual
compound tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. against Pavlo Nazar of Ukraine.

    Boccia

    Canada's boccia players had a tough day of competition in the BC1/BC2
team and BC3 pairs events.
    In the BC1/BC2 team competition in the morning, Canada started off strong
against No. 1 ranked Great Britain. Canada scored four points in end one and
led the way through end five. Great Britain finished end five with only three
points while Canada had six.
    In the sixth end, Great Britain came back with three tight points to tie
Canada and send the game into an extra end. Canada led the extra end up until
Great Britain's last ball. The Brits made an amazing shot to edge out Canada
and take the win.
    In the afternoon, Canada faced Argentina in the final game of the
round-robin match. Canada was down 1-0 going into the second end, but tied it
up in the second. The battle continued in the third end. Argentina was in the
lead, but a tap to Canada's red ball gave Canada a 2-1 lead. Argentina evened
it in the fourth end, and scored three points in the fifth end for a 5-2 lead.
Argentina added another point in the final end for a 6-2 win, knocking Canada
out of the BC1/BC2 team competition.
    "We faced two very tough teams in our pool - Great Britain and Argentina.
But the team played hard and competed right up until the end," said coach
Monique Camirand. "We're a young team and we gave it everything we had to get
to where we are today. When we return home, we will go back to training and
work on eliminating that one bad end. We have to remain consistent throughout
all six ends."
    The BC3 pairs team also had a disappointing day, losing to Spain and
Korea.
    Against Spain, Canada was down 5-0 in the first two ends, and scored one
in the third end. However, Canada wasn't able to watch up and lost 9-1.
    After losing to Spain in the morning, the team consisting of Paul
Gauthier (Vancouver, BC), Monica Martino (Vancouver, BC) and Alison Kabush
(Surrey, BC) pulled together and felt confident against Korea. The first two
ends saw Canada competing head to head with Korea. Korea scored in the first
and Canada tied it up in the second. But then Korea scored six points in the
third end for a 7-1 score. Korea scored two more points in the last end for a
9-1 win.
    Canada faces China tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in their final round-robin
match, which will determine if the team moves into the final round.
    "It was a rough day on the boccia court today for both Canada's team and
pairs. Today, we weren't able to make space between the opponents' ball and
the jack," said head coach Mario Delisle. "It's not over. We still face China
tomorrow. We've played China twice in the last six months and have edged them
out both times. Hopefully, we will see the same result as we face them for the
third time this year."
    He added, "We will regroup tonight to prepare ourselves mentally as well
as for on the court."

    Goalball

    Canada's women's goalball team downed Germany 1-0. Amy Kneebone
(Charlottetown, PEI) scored the only goal of the match.
    The men's team fell 6-5 to Sweden in a tight game. Sweden was up 3-1 at
the half way point. The Canadians returned in full force in the second period
and tied it at 4 on a goal by Jeff Christie (Kemptville, ON).
    Unfortunately for the Canadians, the Swedes went up by a goal on the next
throw with just two minutes left in the game. About 50 seconds later, Mario
Caron (St. Eustache, QC) scored on his third penalty shot of the game. The
Canadians came within an inch of tying it up with 20 seconds left when the
ball rolled on the goal line but didn't pass it.
    "I didn't play well defensively," conceded Caron. "On two of the Swedish
goals, I wasn't in a good position and I couldn't make the ball go in a good
direction. The Swedish team always gives us problems, and this was the case
again."

    Rowing

    Canada's mixed coxed four crew of Meghan Montgomery (Victoria, BC), Vicky
Nolan (Toronto, ON), Scott Rand (Calgary, AB), Tony Theriault (Victoria, BC)
and coxswain Laura Comeau (St. Catharines, ON) will be vying for a medal
tomorrow, following their second place finish today in the repechage.
    Great Britain took the lead early in the race, while Canada and Brazil
fought it out for second place. It was neck and neck until Canada pulled ahead
in the closing few meters.
    "We won it in the last 100 meters," said head coach Anne-Renée Thibault.
"That's where we beat the Brazilians. We were a lot better today, but I can
see where we can still make improvements. It was a very positive day for us."
    Canada finished the 1000m race in 3:48.76, behind Great Britain at
3:44.90, but ahead of the Brazil at 3:49.76.
    In other rowing events, Steve Daniel (Sudbury, ON) finished fourth in
6:09.37 in the repechage of the arms only event, well off the pace of leader
Teteng Tan, of China, who crossed the finish line in 5:45.79.
    Daniel won't advance to the medal round. He will compete in the B final
on Thursday.
    The mixed double sculls crew of Caitlin Renneson (Ottawa, ON) and
Wilfredo More Wilson (Toronto, ON) finished fifth in the repechage. They don't
have a medal chance, but will be racing in the B final. They completed the
1000m race in 5:12.47.

    Track cycling

    Jean Quevillon (Ste.-Adele, QC), Mark Breton (Charlesbourg, QC), and Eric
Bourgault (Orford, QC) finished sixth in the team sprint (LC1-4 and CP3-4) in
a time of 56.183. It's a new Canadian record, but it wasn't fast enough for
the Canadian trio to advance.
    "Everyone did their job and we got our best time. But we couldn't stack
up against the Brits, who won just about everything here. We have to forget
about first place because we don't have the latest technology and the
financial support that the British have. The Brits have been training for a
year with their Olympic team, which is the best in the world. That made all
the difference," said Breton.
    In the sprint tandem H, Brian Cowie (Burnaby, BC) and his pilot Devon
Smibert (Calgary, AB) finished sixth.

    Wheelchair basketball

    Canada's men's wheelchair basketball team dominated a fast Japanese team
today for its fourth consecutive win in round-robin play. Canada downed Japan
75-48.
    The Canadians mounted a remarkable defence in the first quarter, and were
able to strip the ball from Japan on a number of occasions. The quarter ended
18-7.
    Richard Peter (Vancouver, BC) opened the second quarter with an easy two
pointer, and David Durepos (Charters Settlement, NB) followed up with two
three pointers to give Canada another six points. Japan fought back and
narrowed the margin to 37-25 at the end of the first half.
    In the third quarter, the Canadians sunk the ball time and again --
scoring 21 points, while pretty much keeping Japan off the scoreboard. Japan
scored only five points in the third quarter.
    The pace quickened in the last ten minutes with Adam Lancia (Scarborough,
ON) displaying aggressive leadership and popping a tire. Back in the action,
he hit a three-pointer with 1:22 left, and Japan responded immediately with a
three-pointer of its own.
    Top scorers were David Durepos with 22 points, Patrick Anderson with 12,
Adam Lancia with 7 and Richard Peter and Joey Johnson with 6 each. The team
hit 47% from the field and had 51 rebounds.
    In women's basketball, Canada beat China 62-44, bringing its record to
2-1 in the round robin. First-time Paralympian Cindy Ouellet (Quebec City, QC)
got the opening basket 10 seconds into the game and set the tone for a
high-scoring quarter. The Canadians were up 22-6 at the end of the first.
    Inside the National Indoor Stadium, the thunderous cheers for the Chinese
team didn't deter the Canadians from hitting the net, but seemed to put
pressure on the hometown team. China committed foul after foul - a total of
nine in the first ten minutes. China came back stronger in the next three
quarters, but couldn't keep up with the experienced Canadian team.
    Canada's scoring was well spread out. Misty Thomas (Vancouver, BC) had
14 points, Hatie Harnock (Elmira, ON) had 10, Chantal Benoit (Ottawa, ON) and
Janet McLachlan (West Vancouver, BC) had eight each, Tara Feser (St. Albert,
AB) had six, Jennifer Krempien (Richmond, BC) and Cindy Ouellet had four while
Sabrina Pettinicchi (Charters Settlement, NB), Tracey Ferguson (Holland
Landing, ON), Lisa Franks (Saskatoon, SK) and Lori Radke (Calgary, AB) had two
a piece.

    Wheelchair tennis

    In what could only be classified as a marathon match, Lee Carter
(Winnipeg, MB) and Yann Mathieu (Trois-Rivieres, QC) were defeated by
Americans Paul Moran and Lee Hinson 6-7, 3-6, 6-4 in men's doubles. The
Canadians will not advance to the next round. The match took over two and a
half hours to complete.
    "They've worked so hard over the past four years," said head coach
Séverine Tamborero. "The match was definitely winnable. It's unfortunate that
the Games are over for them. They played smart and they came back well in the
second set, but they made a few too many errors in the third set. It's tough
now to realize their dream is over."




For further information:

For further information: Mary Beth Walker or Rachal Fleury, CPC Media
Relations At-home Media Team, (613) 569-4333 ext. 227, Mobile: (613) 795-5169,
marybeth@paralympic.ca; Norma Reveler, Press Chief, Beijing 2008 Canadian
Paralympic Team, Mobile: (011) 86 13439622163, Press Office: (011) 86
1066617438, norma@paralympic.ca


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