Stilwell wins 200m final to bring Canada's gold medal tally to seven



    BEIJING, China, Sept. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Wheelchair racer and former
wheelchair basketball player Michelle Stilwell (Nanoose Bay, BC) set a new
Paralympic record in taking the gold in the women's 200m final in the T52
category. Stilwell's gold brings Canada's total gold tally to seven after the
first five days of Paralympic Games competition.
    She finished in a time of 36.18, a full 1.26 seconds ahead of second
place finisher, Tomomi Yamaki, of Japan.
    "I've always gone with 'what your mind believes your body will achieve,'
and today it all came together," said Stilwell after her race. "I was nervous
because I was competing against Tomomi Yamaki, a rising star from Japan. I had
a great start and a strong push. I focused on the process and in the end, I
got the result."
    In other finals, Brent Lakatos (Montreal, QC) finished fifth in the T53
400m in a time of 50.40. The time equaled his season best, but he was up
against some speedsters. Gold medalist Suk-Man Hong, from Korea, broke the old
world record of 48.86 when he clocked in at 47.67.
    "I had a good start, but in the last turn I slipped on my compensator so
I wasn't quite straight on the last stretch," said Lakatos. "This result is a
good sign for my 100m race, which is my strength."
    In the T54 5000m final, Josh Cassidy (Oakville, ON) finished tenth in
10:26.15.
    "I was in the back at the beginning and the speed going quickly up and
down affects you more in that position. I managed to get in a good position,
but was cut off near the end," said Cassidy. "Where I live, there is no track
like this one to train on, making it harder to prepare for competitions. The
competition level has also increased a lot in the past years."
    Qualifying today for the final of the women's 100m in the T37 category
were Diane Roy (Hatley, QC), Chantal Petitclerc (Montreal, QC) and Jessica
Matassa (Oldcastle, ON). Petitclerc finish first in her heat in 52.50, Matassa
finished third in the same heat in 55.22, and Roy was first in her heat in
54.88.
    In the men's 400m qualifying race for the T52 category, Dean Bergeron
(St.-Augustin-de-Desmaures, QC) broke a Paralympic record with his time of
59.16.
    Bergeron said that Japan's Tomoya Ito will be a strong opponent in the
final.
    Also qualifying for the 400m final was Andre Beaudoin (Montreal, QC), who
finished in a new season best time of 1:02.66.
    In other athletics action, Ilana Duff (Bradwell, SK) qualified for the
finals of the women's 100m in the T53 category with a time of 17.74.
    Jean-Paul Compaore (Sherbrooke, QC) finished third in a season best time
of 1:36.66 to qualify for the finals of the men's T54 800m.
    "I was very confident. I had a good start; I didn't push too hard. When I
got in the third position, I knew I could relax and stay focused to reach the
semi-final," said a happy Compaore after the race.
    Team-mate Cassidy (Oakville, ON) finished in 1:40.54 and did not qualify
for the semi-final.
    After a good start, Jon Dunkerley (Ottawa, ON) was disqualified from the
men's 200m qualifying race in the T11 category after his guide Sean Young
crossed the finish line slightly before him.
    In the women's T37 100m, Megan Muscat (Windsor, ON) failed to qualify
with her time of 15.84, nor did team-mate Leah Robinson (Mannheim, ON) with
her season best time of 15.35.

    Archery

    Kevin Evans (Jaffray, BC) defeated Ukrainian Pavlo Nazar by one point
today and moves onto the quarterfinals in the men's individual compound (open)
tomorrow. Both archers were at a 110 tie, but the judge chose to remove a
point on Nazar's last shot because the arrow was deemed outside the
seven-point score. The seven was reduced to six on that round, making the
overall score 110 for Evans and 109 for Nazar.
    Also, tomorrow Norbert Murphy (Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC) plays Osmo Kinnunun
of Finland in the quarterfinals of the men's individual compound in the W1-1
category.

    Boccia

    The boccia pairs team consisting of Athens gold medalist Paul Gauthier
(Vancouver, BC), Monica Martino (Vancouver, BC) and Alison Kabush (Surrey, BC)
beat China today, but the points they accumulated in the match were not enough
to advance them to the quarterfinals.
    In the third and final match in the round robin, Canada took the lead
with four points in the first end. In the second end, China was only able to
add two points to make the score 4-2 in Canada's favour.
    In the third end, China had the jack but Martino was able to hit the jack
out of bounds bringing it to the centre X to give Canada an advantage. The
team scored three points in the third end and another in the last to take the
game at 8-2.
    "Paul and Monica had a great game on the court today. Unfortunately, it
was a day too late," said head coach Mario Delisle, of Montreal, QC. "If we 
had played like this yesterday against Spain and Korea, I'm confident the
pairs would have won two out of three games. Nonetheless, I'm very proud of
the team and it's great to finish the tournament with a win against China."
    Canada's pairs team lost both its matches Wednesday against Spain and
Korea.

    Equestrian

    Ashley Gowanlock (Surrey, BC) was knocked out of a medal position this
evening in the individual freestyle test grade IB. Lee Pearson of Great
Britain won the event with a score of 77.057 followed by Ricky Balshaw, also
of Great Britain, with 70.44 points and Marcos Alves from Brazil with 67.33
points.
    Gowanlock, riding her horse Donnymaskell, finished eighth with a score of
64.221.
    She was in a good position after the morning competition - second with a
score of 64.221.
    There are no more equestrian events at the Paralympic Games.

    Goalball

    Canada's men's goalball team lost 6-3 to Brazil, bringing its record to
two wins and three losses so far in the tournament. The team moves on to play
world champion, Lithuania, in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
    Canada's top scorer Mario Caron (St.-Eustache, QC) scored all three of
Canada's goals. He scored a total of 23 goals in the preliminaries.
    "It was a bad game and we took the Brazilians a little too lightly, and
we shouldn't have," said Caron. "I did though play a little better
defensively."
    In women's play, Canada tied Denmark 2-2. Denmark scored first in the
first half. They doubled their score on one of the first throws in the second
half.
    But 30 seconds later, Annette Lisabeth (Langton, ON) responded for
Canada. Then Nancy Morin (Longueuil, QC) tied it. She had the chance to give
Canada the lead near the end of the game, but failed to score on a penalty
shot.
    "We followed our game plan for our throws, and we were only penalized
once - the opposite of our first two games. Denmark is a strong defensive
team," said Morin.
    Lisabeth added, "With every game, we have actually gotten better and
improved our offence."
    The women play the United States tomorrow.

    Rowing

    After making history yesterday by advancing to the finals, 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) placed six in the final.
    Although they were disappointed with the result, the consensus was they
left nothing in the tank.
    "Nobody had anything left in them," said Rand after engaging in a crew
hug with his team-mates. "We had true dynamics on this crew."
    "Our hearts were there, but it just wasn't there today," conceded
Montgomery. "But we learned a lot. It's been an amazing year. We came here to
make the A final and we did it."
    Canada finished the 1000m race in 3:45.66. Italy won the race in 3:33.13,
followed by the United States in 3:37.61 and Great Britain with the bronze in
3:38.37.
    "We had a wicked start and that's what we wanted to do," said Comeau.
"Sometimes others just race faster, but I couldn't have asked for a better
crew."
    Theriault added, "We made a commitment at Worlds that we were going to
stick together and make it to the final in Beijing. And here we are."
    "We started something here today," said Comeau.
    "And the next generation has some big shoes to fill," quipped Rand.
    In other rowing events, Steve Daniel (Sudbury, ON) finished fifth in
5:56.48 in the B final of the arms only event, well off the pace of leader
Patrick Lareau of France, who crossed the finish line in 5:44.29.
    "It definitely was an all out performance for me," said Daniel. "The
caliber of competition is extremely high. There is no question I was the
rookie out here. There's a lot I want to achieve in this sport. I didn't come
this far to stop now."
    The mixed double sculls crew of Caitlin Renneson (Ottawa, ON) and
Wilfredo More Wilson (Toronto, ON) also finished fifth in the B final. They
completed the 1000m race in 4:54.08. The United States took gold in 4:30.33,
followed by the Ukraine in 4:37.78 and Germany in 4:49.05.
    "That was definitely our best race together as a team," said Renneson.
"We had a really good start and got into a really nice rhythm."
    That completes competition at Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park at the
Beijing Paralympic Games. The crews now gear up for the 2009 World Rowing
Championships in Poznan, Poland next year.
    "Oh I'll definitely be around for the Paralympic Games in 2012," added
Montgomery. "I'm not ready to quit yet."

    Sailing

    Paul Tingley (Halifax, NS) finished ninth today in race six of the
1-person keelboat (2.4mR), dropping him out of the lead. New leader John Ruf,
of the United States, now has a one point advantage over Tingley and two other
sailors who are all tied at 18 points.
    "It was a difficult day for me. I couldn't find my lanes and I definitely
had some speed issues. I ended up pretty far back in the pack, but came back a
little," he said.
    He said he expects to regain the lead over the remaining five races.
    Only one of the scheduled three races in the 2-person keelboat (SKUD18)
was held today due to fickle breezes. Canadians Stacie Louttit (Victoria, BC)
and John McRoberts (Victoria, BC) finished race six in third place, behind the
United States and Great Britain.
    The Canadian 2-person keelboat are third overall, six points behind
leader United States, one point behind second-place Australia, and 10 points
ahead of fourth place Britain.
    In the 3-person keelboat (sonar) race, Canada's Ken Kelly (Victoria, BC),
Don Terlson (Victoria, BC) and Marc Shaw (Victoria, BC) finished fourth in
race six.

    Shooting

    Christos Trifonidis (Vancouver, BC) fell just short of the podium in the
mixed R3-10m air rifle prone in the SHI class, finishing just 0.10 points
behind bronze medalist Jae-Yong Sim, of Korea.
    The 62-year-old veteran Canadian Paralympian was involved in a three-way
shoot-out to determine the bronze medalist. On the final shot, Trifonidis
scored a 10.6, while Sim got 10.7 Slovakia's Radoslav Malenovsky, the other
shooter, ended up fifth with a score of 10.5 in the shoot out.
    Trifonidis equaled his previous best Paralympic placing of fourth at the
1992 Barcelona Games, despite having a problem with his eye.
    "I got an infection in my right eye, and that's the one I use to line up
my shot, so that made it more difficult," he noted. "It's my best result since
Barcelona, but this time it is more satisfying. For 16 years, I've needed 588
points to advance to the final, but this year I needed 599 points. That
demonstrates that the level of competition is higher than in the past.
    In the elimination round earlier today, Trifonidis finished fifth with a
score of 599 points. The only time the Canadian didn't score a 10 was on his
fourth shot.
    "I had difficulty concentrating after the 9-point shot, but I got back
into it," he said.
    Trifonidis competes again on Friday in the mixed R-6 50m free rifle prone
event.

    Swimming

    Canada's swimmers came out of today's competition with a silver medal and
two bronzes. Stephanie Dixon (Victoria, BC) netted a silver medal in a time of
2:37.54 in the women's 200m in the SM9 category. She broke the Canadian record
in the event twice in the same day - once in the preliminaries with a time of
2:40.01 and again in the finals with a time of 2:37.54.
    Dixon was up against South African swimmer Natalie du Toit, the gold
medalist who also swam in the Olympics.
    "I'm speechless! My plan was to go into this race strong and I wanted to
challenge Natalie (du Toit). I kept my head down in my own lane and went after
it; I am proud to bring home the silver medal," said Dixon.
    Earning bronzes were flagbearer Donovan Tildesley (Vancouver, BC) and
Benoit Huot (Montreal, QC).
    Tildesley swam the men's 400m freestyle in the S13 category in 4:49.45.
    "The time is off my best. I went a 4:42 in July, but I gave it my all,"
he said. "I can't complain about bringing home a bronze medal in a tough Games
such as these."
    Huot got the bronze in the men's 200m individual medley in the SM10
category in a time of 2:15.22.
    Swimming in the same race as Dixon, Brittany Gray (Barrie, ON) finished
sixth in 2:45.49.
    In the men's 200m individual medley in the SM8 category, Drew Christensen
(New Westminster, BC) placed fifth in 2:36.67, and Brianna Nelson (Victoria,
BC) finished eighth in 6:00.99 in the women's 400m freestyle in the S7
category.
    Not advancing from the preliminaries to the finals were Laura Jensen
(6:02.13 in the women's 400m freestyle in the S7 category) and Katarina Roxon
(2:55.75 in the women's 200m individual medley in the SM9 category). Jensen is
from North Vancouver, BC, and Roxon hails from Stephenville, NF.

    Wheelchair basketball

    Canada's undefeated men's wheelchair basketball team will play Israel on
Saturday after ending their round-robin competition with a 93-62 win over
Iran.
    The game opened with an easy basket by Vancouver's Patrick Anderson, who
started an onslaught of scoring by the Canadians. But Iran's first two shots
came from behind the line, giving them six points. It seemed every time Iran
shot from the three-point line, the ball went in. But outstanding defence by
Anderson and quick shots by Joey Johnson (Winnipeg, MB) led Canada to a 30-16
lead at the end of the quarter.
    Iran opened the second quarter aggressively, and scored 19 points to
narrow the gap to 36-34. But then Ross Norton (Edmonton, AB) sunk two in a
row, and then another to give Canada six points. Superb shooting by David
Durepos (Charters Settlement, NB) and a basket right at the buzzer by Richard
Peter (Vancouver, BC) allowed Canada to gain a sizeable lead again and to
finish the half at 52-35.
    After the half, the Iranians with their solid three-point shooting added
14 points to the scoreboard to bring the score to 61-49. Canadian coach Mike
Frogley called a time-out with 4:26 remaining, and the team returned with a
new attitude. Canada was up 73-55 at the end of the third quarter.
    The final quarter saw Canada do what they do best as they added another
20 points while holding Iran to only seven.
    High scorers for Canada were Peter with 20 points, Anderson with 19,
Johnson and Durepos with 12 each, Rouillard with eight and Norton with six.
Canada hit 56% from the field, 63% in free throws and captured 29 defensive
rebounds. Iran shot 21 from outside the three-point line and sunk nine for
43%.
    In women's play, Canada downed Mexico 71-38 to finish with three wins and
one loss. They ended up second place in pool B.
    Janet McLachlan (West Vancouver, BC) had and outstanding game with 14
points and six rebounds. Other high scorers were Chantal Benoit (Ottawa, ON)
with 14, Misty Thomas (Vancouver, BC) with 12, Kendra Ohama (Calgary, AB) with
10 and Cindy Ouellet (Quebec, QC) with 8. Thomas also hit 4/10 free throws and
had 9 rebounds.
    Tomorrow, the women face Australia in the quarter final. Australia
finished 2-2 in its pool of the round robin, defeating Great Britain and
Brazil but losing to the United States and Germany.




For further information:

For further information: Mary Beth Walker; 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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