Grand'Maison earns Canada's first gold medal at the Paralympic Games



    BEIJING, China, Sept. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Swimmer Valerie Grand'Maison
earned Canada's first gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Beijing as
Canadian women swept the women's 100m butterfly in the S13 category today. The
swimmer from Montreal placed first in a Canadian record time of 1:06.49.
    Her team-mate Kirby Cote (Winnipeg, MB) was second in 1:06.62 and Chelsey
Gotell (Antigonish, NS) was third in 1:06.93.
    "I'm speechless, and so happy. This is a dream come true for me," said
Grand'Maison. "Every single morning, I have thought about this moment and it
has finally come true."
    She added that she was proud of the girls standing on the podium with
her.
    "This is such a great feeling - to be on the podium with Val and Kirby
and to be a part of Canada's first gold medal," said Gotell.
    Stephanie Dixon (Victoria, BC) finished fourth in a Canadian record time
of 1:11.04 in the women's 100m butterfly in the S9 category.
    "This was such an incredible race; it was so tight," said Dixon. "I'm a
bit disappointed, but the atmosphere was electric. I thought the building was
shaking it was so loud."
    Also in the finals, Drew Christensen (New Westminster, BC) placed sixth
in the men's 100m butterfly in the S8 category.
    Laura Jensen (West Vancouver, BC) had initially qualified for the finals
of the women's 200m individual medley in the SM7 category, but a faster
competitor successfully appealed a disqualification, knocking Jensen out.

    Preliminaires

    Cote, Grand'Maison and Gotell also finished one-two-three in the women's
S13 preliminary 100m butterly, with Cote setting a Canadian record of 1:07.21.
The record was broken by Grand'Maison in the final.
    In the men's 100m butterfly in the S13 category, Brian Hill (Montreal,
QC) and Devin Gotell (Antigonish, NS) finished 12th in 1:03.25 and 17th in
1:09.37 respectively and failed to qualify for the finals.
    In the women's SM7 200m individual medley, Stephanie McDougall (Maple
Ridge, BC) failed to qualify with her tenth place finish in 3:46.26, and
Brianna Nelson was disqualified.
    In the women's 100m butterfly in the S8 category, Andrea Cole placed 12th
in 1:32.98 and failed to qualify.
    Brittany Gray (11th in 1:15.11) and Katarina Roxon (19th in 1:22.72)
didn't qualify for the S9 women's 100m butterfly final.

    Track cycling

    Canada's first medal of the Games was in track cycling, with Jean
Quevillon (Ste-Adele, Quebec) winning bronze in the men's 3000m individual
pursuit in the CP3 category. He beat Spaniard Maurice Far Eckhard by 5.15
seconds.
    "I'm very happy with this result, particularly since it's my first
Paralympic medal on the track," said Quevillon, who has a silver medal from
the road time trial at the 2000 Paralympic Games. "Over the last two years,
I've worked really hard with my coach Eric Van den Eynde and today I reaped
the results of those efforts."
    He said the most important factor in his improvement is his coach.
    He also placed third in the trials in the morning.
    It is Canada's first medal in cycling since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic
Games.
    Also in this class, rookie Brayden McDougall (Calgary) placed seventh in
a personal best time of 4:15.006.
    The tandem pair of Daniel Chalifour (Lac-aux-Ecorces, Quebec) and his
pilot Alexandre Cloutier (Quebec City) finished fourth. In the preliminaries,
the duo was third in a time of 4:25.335, just .209 seconds away from second
and a place in the gold medal final. Chalifour is a rookie at these Games.
    In the same class, Brian Cowie (Burnaby, BC) and his pilot Devon Smibert
(Calgary) were fifth. As well, Stéphane Côté (Quebec City) and Pierre-Olivier
Boily (Sherbrooke, Quebec) finished tenth. They are racing on the track to
prepare for their specialty - the road race.
    In the women's tandem 1 km time trial, rookies Geneviève Ouellet (Amos,
Quebec) and her pilot Mathilde Hupin (Bromont, Quebec) placed sixth in a
personal best time.

    Boccia

    Adam Dukovich (BC2 category) was the only Canadian boccia player to go
undefeated as round-robin boccia single's play got underway today. He finished
4-2 and 4-1 respectively against Great Britain and Finland.
    In the BC3 category, defending gold medalist Paul Gauthier started out
strong with a 9-1 win over Maria Stavropoulou from Greece, but then lost 3-5
to Armando Costa of Portugal. At the conclusion of the first end, he trailed
0-3. He came back with two points in a close second end. Portugal lost the
jack in the third end, but Gauthier was unable to come back.
    BC boccia player Monica Martino (Vancouver, BC) also split her games,
beating Thailand but losing 2-7 to Korea. In her second game, she faced
third-ranked Korea's Keon-Woo Park.
    Her team-mate, Alison Kabush lost a close game 3-4 to Portugal, but
bounced back with a 6-1 win over Greece.
    BC1 Hanif Mawji started strong this morning with a 3-2 win over the
United States. Mawji was down at the end of the third end but tied it up in
the fourth to go into two more ends and sudden death. Mawji won the fifth end
taking the game 3-2.
    Mawji also faced China and Argentina but was unable to win, finishing 2-3
and 1-6 respectively.
    Rookie Brock Richardson (BC1) had an exciting morning, with his very
first Paralympic win, shutting out Jae-Suk Park of Korea 7-0. Richardson lost
two games and won one.
    BC2 Tammy McLeod also ended up even today, defeating Finland 9-2 and
losing 1-4 to China.
    Tomorrow, the round robin in individual competition continues with each
member of Team Canada in one game each. The quarterfinals start at 4:30 p.m.

    Equestrian

    Competing in the overall team event, Lauren Barwick (Langley, BC)
finished second in the Grade II riding her horse Maile with a final score of
67.619, while Jennifer McKenzie (Maple Ridge, BC) was 11th on her horse
Valentine II with a score of 57.047.
    In Grade 1b, Ashley Gowanlock (Surrey, BC) on Connymaskell placed fourth
with a score of 63.059, and in the Grade I, Eleonore Elstone (Langley, BC) on
Lutke was ninth with a score of 62.357.

    Goalball

    In goalball, Canada beat Iran 9-5 in men's play with Mario Caron (St.
Eustache, Quebec) scoring eight goals.
    The women's team tied Sweden 3-3 in their first round-robin game. Canada
took the lead early on a goal from Annette Lisabeth (Langton, ON) but watched
as Sweden countered with two goals to lead 2-1 at the half. Sweden went up 3-1
early in the second half before Amy Alsop (Regina, SK) and Nancy Morin
(Longueuil, QC) scored two goals to tie it up. Lisabeth had a chance to win
the game with seconds remaining in the game, but shot wide on her penalty
shot.
    "This is certainly not the ideal way to start the tournament," said
Alsop. "We were a little shaky in the first half, but all we needed to do was
take a deep breath. We knew Sweden was going to be tough but we can be happy
about the tie knowing that we fought back for it."
    Morin added, "A tie's better than a loss."

    Table tennis

    In table tennis, Ian Kent (Eastern Passage, NS) lost 1-3 to Israeli Zeev
Glikman, the silver medalist from the Sydney 2000 Games. Kent was able to win
the third match 11-8, but No. 5 ranked Glikman was too much for him.
    "We're both two of the older players. It was very much a thinking match.
It was technical," said Kent. "There was lots of brain work from the both of
us and this was definitely my best match against him. Tactically my plan was
perfect. I just made too many mistakes that he capitalized on."
    Kent has played Glikman three previous times with limited success, but
coach John Macpherson (Cole Harbour, NS) said he "played his opponent far
better technically and tactically than he ever has before."
    Kent next plays No. 3 ranked Marc Ledoux, from Belgium, in the morning on
Tuesday, Sept. 9, and Slovakia's Miroslav Jambor later in the evening.
    There are four players in Kent's group and only one advances directly to
the semi-finals.

    Wheelchair basketball

    Canada's men's wheelchair basketball team kicked off their Paralympic
competition today with 62-59 win over Germany. Team Canada led the way at the
end of the first quarter 17-13, but lost the lead in the second, finishing the
half at 26-30.
    The men fought back but continued to trail 42-43 at the end of the third.
The intensity picked up in the fourth as Patrick Anderson (Fergus, ON) tied it
at 43 on a penalty with 7:47 left.
    Canada was able to take the lead for the first time since the first
quarter, but Germany fought back and tied it at 50. Montreal's David Eng sunk
two at the line bringing Canada up to 52-50. With 22 seconds left in the game,
Germany shot adding two points to bring the score to a close 60-59. But a
basket by Eng with 12.4 seconds left allowed Canada to finish 62-59.
    The high scorers were Anderson (29 points) and Montreal's David Eng (10
points).




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, (011) 86 13439622163, Press Office: (011) 86
1066617438, norma@paralympic.ca


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