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LONDON, Sept. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada fought a battle on the court, but
it wasn't enough to fend off the Australians and so Canada will return
home from the London 2012 Paralympic Games as silver medallists. The
final result was 66-51 for the Aussies, led by Ryley Batt and Chris
Bond, who between them scored 52 of Australia's 66 goals.
After a thrilling one-point victory against the USA to advance to the
gold medal game, Canada wasn't able to repeat the performance of the
previous day. The team started off flat, turning the ball over twice
in the first minutes of the game.
"I thought we had a good game plan against Australia, but man, they came
out on fire," said head coach Kevin Orr. "I really liked the way our
guys responded during the tournament. We started out with that flat
line game (against Australia in the round robin) and then really worked
hard throughout the tournament. I have to give credit to our guys. They
were scrappy, and our young ones showed a lot of composure through this
game and our veteran leadership was able to keep us alive as well."
Veteran Mike Whitehead agrees: "After the first loss to Australia, we
looked at each other in the locker room and said, "We need to man up.
We need to bring it" and from there we started the wave and just rode
that wave. We grew together as a team and we're a much better team now
than when we started."
The bright spot for the Canadians was the performance of Zak Madell,
Travis Murao, and Patrice Dagenais. When Jason Crone received a
flagrant foul, Canada was forced to go 3 on 4 for 5 minutes. This
lineup, however, performed admirably, keeping the score even despite
being over manned.
Throughout the 2012 London Paralympics Canada consistently stepped up in
close games. After falling 64-52 to Australia in the first match, they
regrouped to beat Belgium 57-50, then to win two one-point victories
against Sweden and the United States. While the silver medal may feel
bitter sweet for now, this Canadian squad goes home on the back of
their best performance since 2004.
Rookie Madell made a huge impact during the final game, again racking up
the most points for Canadian side. Madell's performance may have a
greater impact than he can imagine. Wheelchair rugby is growing in
Canada and this silver medal will certainly increase attention on the
Paralympics' only full contact sport.
"After every Paralympics, we see an influx of people inspired by the
performances of our athletes who want to take part," said Cathy
Cadieux, Executive Director of Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association.
"Thanks to our Bridging the Gap program, we can support new athletes
and help them connect with the sport they love, and thanks to our
Podium Club program, we can support their development along the way.
Wheelchair rugby is thriving in Canada and we're excited for what the
future holds. We're certainly looking for more gems like Zak. It was
great to see him come out there with such composure. But rugby is a
team game and we're focused on making the best team possible."
As the youngest player on the team, Madell is taking all the attention
"Being 18 years old at my first Paralympics, playing alongside 11
experienced and strong players, and getting to play against the best
teams in the world is a huge honor for me," he said.
Along with development programs put on by the Canadian Wheelchair Sports
Association, the Government of Canada provides funding to Canadian
Paralympic teams, including the Wheelchair Rugby squad, through the Own
the Podium helping them deliver their best performances by investing in
sport sciences, coaching and support staff.
The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State for Sport was on hand for
Canada's silver medal match.
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to congratulate our
wheelchair rugby team on their silver medal win today," said the
Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "The team showed great
determination and grit. It is my hope that their accomplishments will
inspire others to participate in sport."
After the game, Minister Gosal presented Garett Hickling with the Queen
Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of being Canada's
flag bearer during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic
"Garett is one of wheelchair rugby's greatest players and a true leader
on this team. It was my honour to present him with the Queen Elizabeth
II Diamond Jubilee Medal," said Minister Gosal.
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to mark the
2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The Queen
Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to
honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time,
it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by
Canadians. For more information on the Diamond Jubilee Medal, please
Canada's track and field team recorded another top-eight performance on
the final day of competition in London. The team closes out the Games
with a total of nine medals, one new Paralympic Games record, seven new
Canadian records, 28 top eight performances and 11 personal bests.
"Four years of preparation by our athletes has culminated in nine medals
for Canada, and while we think it's important to live in the moment and
enjoy our accomplishments, I know that many are already talking about
how they can be even better in Rio" said Laurier Primeau, Paralympic
Games Head Coach. "There's a lot of talk and appreciation for the
incredible Games that London has hosted, for the unparalleled fan
support, and for the great boost that the Paralympic movement has
gotten in the media. On the other, thematic in our camp is the notion
that we can learn from the London experience and move forward toward
improved results in Brazil in 2016."
Day 10 of competition featured three athletes taking part in the T54
classification wheelchair marathon. Diane Roy of Sherbrook, Que., was
the top Canadian finishing seventh overall in a time of 1:53:02.
"I did all that I could, this summer I put all of my focus into my top
speed," said Roy. "So on this course to slow down in the curves and
then accelerate again was exhausting, especially after ten days of
In the men's T54 wheelchair marathon Josh Cassidy of Ottawa, Ont.,
placed 12th in a time of 1:33:06.
"This is the toughest course I've ever done but I gave it everything I
had," said Cassidy.
After recovering from a crash and having to fix a flat tire, Michel
Filteau of St. Jean Baptiste, Que., finished 26th in 1:47:39.
About the Canadian Paralympic Committee
The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization
with 46 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the
Paralympic movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to
be the world's leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the
development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to
enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By
supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success,
the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a
disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its
Follow Your Team:
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SOURCE: CANADIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE (CPC)
For further information:
Press Chief / Chef de Presse
Canadian Paralympic Team / Equipe paralympique canadien
London : 07510 875 867
Assistant Press Chief / Chef de Presse adjointe
Canadian Paralympic Team / Equipe paralympique canadien
London : 07510 875 869