Day 6 at the Paralympics: Gold and bronze in the pool plus a historic bronze in boccia

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LONDON, UK, Sept. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - For the second time at these Paralympic Games, Para swimmer Summer Mortimer of Ancaster, Ont., won a gold medal in world record time, prevailing Tuesday in the women's 100-metre backstroke.

Benoit Huot of Montreal added a bronze in the men's 100 backstroke and the BC4 boccia team of Marco Dispaltro (St-Jérôme, QC) and Josh Vander Vies (Vancouver, BC) won the first Paralympic medal ever by Canadians in their category , a bronze.

In the women's 100 backstroke for the S10 disability category, Mortimer won in spectacular fashion with a sizzling second length to lower her world mark to 1:05.90. Her previous standard was 1:06.47 set at the 2010 world championships.

"This feels absolutely amazing,'' said Mortimer, the 50 freestyle champion and also a silver medallist in the 200 IM so far at the Games.  ''I haven't been that fast since I was abled bodied. To be able to beat my times from when I was 14-15 years-old is amazing.  I wasn't expecting it but the race went perfectly.''

The 19-year-old seriously injured her feet in a trampoline accident four years ago.

Mortimer was fully aware of how Tuesday's final was unfolding.

''I need to see the clock when I swim backstroke and I saw that Sophie was ahead of me at the split and I just went for it.''

In the preliminaries, Mortimer ranked third which left her fans a bit worried.  However she was simply following her game plan.

''I went easy in the prelims,'' she said. ''I was trying to strategically place myself a couple of lanes over so I wouldn't be beside the main people and be able to focus on my own race.''

In the BC4 boccia team bronze medal match, Marco Dispaltro (St-Jérôme, QC) and partner Josh Vander Vies (Vancouver, BC) won 8-2 against Great Britain's McGuire brothers.

Canada crushed their opponents in the first end by scoring four points. Great-Britain tried to retaliate but scored only one point in the second end. Dispaltro and Vander Vies remained calm in the third end and scored an additional four points.

"It feels so good. In the third end, when we scored four points, I knew we would win the match," said Vander Vies. "I delayed telling Marco what the score was so he could see from the referee. We were both delighted."

"I was in my zone today. We played strong, we played fast and it worked out," said Dispaltro. "It's unbelievable to go back home with a medal. But it's not over. We will win more."

Individual boccia competitions will start Wednesday, September 5.

In the men's S10 100 backstroke, Justin Zook of the U.S., won the gold medal in a world record 1:00.01.  Former world record holder Andre Brasil of Brazil was second in 1:00.11 and Huot lowered his Canadian record to 1:00.73 for his second medal of the Games.  He was the 200 IM champion last Thursday.

''It wasn't easy but it worked out well for me,'' said Huot, now with 18 career Paralympic medals through four Games.  ''This isn't the race I feel the most comfortable in and at the end I wasn't sure I was in the medal contenders.  I was really hurting in the last 25 metres.''


In the 800m T54 event, Diane Roy (Sherbrooke, QC) finished third in her heat with a time of 1:55.95 which confirmed her spot in the finals Wed. Sept. 5 at 9:39 p.m. local London time.

Keira Lyn-Frie (Saskatoon, SK) finished fifth in the same event with a time of 1:57.23 and does not advance to finals.

Nathan Dewitt (Surrey, BC) finished sixth in his heat with a time of 31.30 in the 200m T34 and did not qualify for the finals.

Brent Lakatos (Dorval, QC) qualified this morning for the 800m T53 finals by clocking a time of 1:42.22, a personal best ! The finals will happen tomorrow evening.

In the shot put finals category F34, Kyle Pettey (Brampton, ON) finished sixth.

"I feel pretty good," said Pettey. "I came in sixth and did the second best throw that I ever did in my life. I can't control how everybody else does. I wish it had gone a little better but I'm happy overall."

In the T54 1500m finals, Josh Cassidy (Toronto, ON) finished tenth.

"It's my top speed," said Cassidy. "It just wasn't there. Every person in this race deserved to win, every single of these guys could win a medal. I'm not where I want to be so I just have to put this behind me and move forward."


Eleonore Elstone (riding Zareno) of Langley, BC, finished in 11th, with her highest score of the competition of 68.750 %, in the Grade IV Freestyle at the equestrian venue in Greenwich Park.

"It was my third time in the ring and it is a great atmosphere," said Elstone. "You can feel all the positive energy from the crowd. Everything has been incredibly well organized. It was a very fun, wonderful and amazing experience. The organizers should be commended for putting on such an incredible Games at Greenwich."

Jody Schloss (riding Inspector Rebus) of Toronto, ON earned a score of 66.500% in the Grade 1a Freestyle, which was good for 11th place.

"I definitely want to compete at the Paralympic Games again," said Jody Schloss. "It has always been my goal to help people, so if I can inspire people to feel good about themselves, that is great."


The Canadian women's goalball team (Ashlie Andrews, Penticton, BC; Whitney Bogart, Marathon, ON; Amy Kneebone, Charlottetown, PEI; Jill MacSween, Halifax, ON; Nancy Morin, Longueuil, QC; Cassie Orgeles, Nepean, ON; Coach: Janice Dawson, Calgary, AB) faced rivals the United States today in thier final match of preliminary competition.

The game remained goalless until Nancy Morin slammed one by the US defense with 1.9 seconds remaining.

Canada will now go on to the quarterfinals in great position for a medal.


Paul Tingley (Halifax, NS) was second in both races seven and eight in the One Person Keel Boat.

"I'm a happy guy moving from fifth to fourth," said Tingley. "It's good racing, exciting right to the end."

In the seventh and eighth races, Stacie Louttit (Victoria, BC) and John McRoberts (Victoria, BC) placed third in the Two Person Mixed Boat - SKUD-18 and lie fourth overall.

"We had a great start (in the first race), great speed but we made a couple of tactical errors," said Louttit. "In the second race we went far left then we tacked over a little too soon and others got ahead of us, so we lost some spots."

The three Person Keel Boat - Sonar (Logan Campbell, Saskatoon; Scott Lutes, Montreal; Bruce Millar, Victoria) were ninth in race seven. Race eight has been rescheduled for Wednesday. Ten

"The star of the day was Paul Tingley (Halifax, NS) in the One Person Keel Boat  with two second place finishes and moving up to fourth place," said head coach Brian Todd. "He also re-won the protest that the French wanted to open with new evidence which was not new!"

Races will be completed for all boats by end of day Wednesday.


Christos Trifonidis (Vancouver) failed to move onto the finals in the R6-50m Free Rifle Prone-Mixed event after shooting 573.

"The conditions weren't too bad but there was a shadow on the targets, a dark/light shadow on the circle that didn't help," said Trifonidis. "Having said that, it was the same for every athlete out here today."

"It seemed he may have had a difficult time reading the wind," added head coach Rick Ward (Kanata, ON) "But without looking through his eyes, it's hard to tell what really went on."

"It's unbelievable the amount of work that's gone on behind the scenes," added teammate Doug Blessin (Port Coquitlam, BC) who had to deal with a small spider in his sight during competition yesterday. "Meeting so many incredible athletes on Team Canada has been quite an experience."


Double silver medallist Brianna Nelson of Victoria and Sarah Mehain of Vernon, B.C., were sixth and seventh respectively in the women's S7 50 freestyle.  Nelson and Mehain both complete a six day stretch of racing.

Devin Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., was seventh in the men's S13 400 freestyle.

Competition continues Wednesday.


The Canadian Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team lost their quarterfinal match to the USA 67-55 on Tuesday.

Canada stormed out to an eleven-point lead in the first quarter (21-10), but with the the USA applying full courtpressure throughout the game, they were unable hang on to the lead.  The Americans took control of the game in the third quarter when Canada got into foul trouble.

The Canucks were outscored 16-8 and 22-14 in the final two frames. Janet McLachlan, of Vancouver, BC was the game's top producer and rebounder with 31 points and 13 boards, while Quebec City's Cindy Ouellet added 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists in the loss. Canada will play Mexico Thursday for a chance at fifth.

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 member organizations.

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For further information:

Alison Korn
Press Chief
Canadian Paralympic Team
London : 07510 875 867

Judy Joseph-Black
Assistant Press Chief
Canadian Paralympic Team
London : 07510 875 869

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