Canada takes silver in men's and women's wheelchair basketball

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Aug. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Both of Canada's
wheelchair basketball teams settled for silver as the men lost a squeaker
52-50 to the United States, and the women fell 50-44 to the Americans Saturday
at the Parapanamerican Games.
    Canada's men's wheelchair basketball team fought hard, but
Patrick Anderson was unable to sink a three pointer with several seconds on
the clock to take the game. The game was tight throughout.
    Anderson was Canada's high scorer with 23 points, while Joseph Chambers
with 20 points was the top American.
    The women found themselves behind the Americans early in the game, and
were never able to bounce back to take the lead. Several times they narrowed
the gap to four or five points, but could not make crucial shots to pull
    The high scorer for Canada was Sabrina Pettinichi with 13 points, while
American Jennifer Ruddell had 21 points.
    Both of Canada's wheelchair basketball teams have earned the right to
play at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Summer Games with their second-place
finish at the Parapanamerican Games.

    Here's how Canada did in the other sports:


    Jessica Matassa, of Windsor, ON, won gold in the T54 400m final in 58.95
seconds, while James Shaw, of Newcastle, ON, finished second in the men's
F35-38 discus final. His best throw was 38.63m.
    It was a personal best time for Matassa, who has been fighting the flu
this week. She withdrew from Friday's 1500m.
    "I figured what's the worst that could happen if I competed in the 400m,
so I decided to go for it. And it all came together," she said.
    Jonathan Dunkerley, of Ottawa, ON, and his guide Sean Young, of Ottawa,
ON, did not start their 400m race for the visually impaired.
    Athletic competition continues Sunday.


    Having aggravated an old injury, Bill Morgan, of Brantford, ON, did not
have a good day on the mat. He withdrew from his last match against Brazilian
Antonio Silva, after losing the bronze medal decider in his previous fight
with American Myles Porter.
    "I didn't want to further hurt myself," said Morgan, of his decision to
pull himself from the fight.
    Morgan opened the day with a loss to Juan Bermudz, of Cuba in the 100kg,
then beat Hector Espinoza, of Venezuela.
    "I did reasonably well under the circumstances," said Morgan. "I was
mentally prepared but not physically because of the injury."
    He said he would re-evaluate his health condition and decide if he will
be able to return to top form for Beijing once he gets home.


    Canada beat the United States 1-0 with Matthew Brown, of Fraserville, ON,
booting one in with just nine minutes left. As a result, Canada takes home the
bronze medal.
    On the play, Sefik Smajlovic, of Vancouver, BC, slid to the right to
avoid a defender and back heeled the ball to Brown, who streaked down the
middle and one timed the ball into the right bottom corner.
    The Americans would begin to press as they desperately looked to tie the
game. But a combination of tight defending and solid goalkeeping kept them off
the score sheet. "It was overwhelming. It was just a great feeling for me, my
team and Canada to win bronze," said Brown.
    The American strikers had several good chances but were turned aside by
Canada's goalkeeper Ross Macdonald, of Burnaby, BC.
    "Ross earned his shutout today," noted Todd Phillips, of Powell River,
    Canada changed its system against the United States to shut down American
Derek Arneaud, who is considered one of the best strikers in seven-a-side
    "But we didn't go totally defensive, like against Argentina. We also
played offensively because we felt we could play with the United States," said
    Coach Drew Ferguson said competing for the bronze medal was a realistic
objective for Canada considering three of the top eight teams in the world
were at the Parapanamerican Games.
    "Winning the bronze medal is equally rewarding to the players and the
staff considering that we have only competed in two tournaments and eight
training camps in the last two years," he said.
    Canada next heads to the CP-ISRA Worlds in November in Brazil. The top
seven or eight teams at the Worlds advance to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic
Summer Games.


    Canada lost in three straight sets to Brazil 25-17, 26-24, 25-13 and face
Costa Rica Sunday for the bronze medal. The turning point occurred when the
Canadian squad was unable to refocus after losing a tight second set.
    "We haven't been able to close up that second set," said player/coach
Jose Rebelo. "We were so disappointed that nobody was in the proper mind frame
for the third set, and our game plan was thrown out the window."
    In the second set, both teams played well. At the first technical
timeout, the score was 8-7 in Brazil's favour. Canada made a move and had
taken a 16-13 lead by the second timeout, and was leading 24-23. But the team
served the ball out, allowing Brazil to even it up.
    The high scorer was Greg Stewart, of Kamloops, BC, with eight points on
five kills, two blocks and one service ace. Both Rebelo and Larry Matthews, of
St. Albert, AB, had seven points: Matthews on five kills and two blocks and
Rebelo on four kills and three blocks.
    "The other teams were all commenting that they couldn't believe we had
come so far in just five months," said team manager Phil Allen of Canada's new
sitting volleyball program. "We're going to stick with it and hopefully we'll
have a team at the 2012 Paralympic Games."


    Canada's swimmers wrapped up their last day of competition on Saturday
with another multi-medal day, winning six gold, five silver and three bronze
    In capturing gold in the women's S10 50m freestyle in 28.49, Anne
Polinario, of Montreal QC, came close to the world record of 28.44. Also
winning gold on Saturday were Drew Christensen, of New Westminster BC, in the
men's S8 50m freestyle in 30.13; Donovan Tildesley, of Vancouver, BC, in the
S11 50m freestyle in 27.78; Brian Hill, of Montreal, QC, in the men's S13 100m
backstroke in 1:04.19; Chelsey Gotell, of Antigonish, NS, in the S13 100m
backstroke in 1:14.00; and Stephanie Dixon, of Victoria, BC, in the women's S9
50m freestyle in 30.97.
    Dixon was Canada's most decorated swimmer with eight medals.
    In total, the Canadian swim team collected 85 medals: 41 gold, 26 silver
and 18 bronze.
    "It's a good confidence builder heading into next year's Paralympic
Games," said Canadian national team coach Craig McCord, of Vancouver, BC.


    Ian Kent, of Eastern Passage, NS, picked up a second silver medal
Saturday - this time in the men's round robin team event by class - after he
and his partner Masoud Mojtahed dropped their game 3-0 to the United States.
    Having beaten Mexico, Brazil and Chile in previous days, Kent and
Mojtahed were dominated by the American team of Tahl Leibovitz and Wayne Lo.

For further information:

For further information: Norma Reveler, Senior Coordinator,
Communications, Cell phone in Rio: (011) 5521 8883 4857, Office phone in Rio:
(011) 5521 2007 9759 (no set office hours),

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