Ian Kent takes silver in table tennis; swimming and athletics also swell Canada's medal total



    RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Aug. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Ian Kent, of Eastern
Passage, NS, won the silver in the men's class 8 single's table tennis
competition at the Parapanamerican Games on Wednesday. He beat American
Wayne Lo 11-8, 14-12, 3-11 and 11-3 to move on to the finals.
    The placing significantly increases Kent's chances of making it to the
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
    "Wayne Lo is a very strong player. It went four games - Ian lost 11-4 in
the third - and then took it in the fourth to earn a spot at the gold medal
game. It's unbelievable," said table tennis coach John Macpherson.
    Kent then played American Tahl Leibovitz in the battle for gold. He lost
5-11, 9-11 and 6-11 in the final.
    Kent said he had a little help from his brother in coming up with a
strategy to beat Lo. Kent's brother lives 20 minutes from where Lo resides in
California. So some friends of Kent's brother played Lo and filed a report
back to Nova Scotia on Lo's table tennis tendencies.
    "It was the most emotional moment of my sporting life," said Kent. "My
goal is the Beijing Paralympics. And as you can see by the colour of my hair,
I don't have that many years left. Winning the silver today is incredible."
    Kent said he had trouble though regrouping to play Leibovitz within half
an hour of "the emotional match" with Lo.
    Still, Kent praised his coach for helping him get the silver.
    "My coach - John Macpherson - has known me for many years, and he knows
all the right buttons to push," said Kent. "Without John, the quality of the
results that I had here would not have been possible."
    Gold medalist Leibovitz could be reclassified to a different class.
    "There is a lot of pressure because the situation is very volatile. The
American player who is presently seeded number one (Leibovitz) in class 8 is
ineligible to play in this category (he's being reclassified to a different
class). He can play in the class for this tournament, but it might not count
in the world standing (for class 8)," said Macpherson.
    In other table tennis action, Masoud Mojtahed beat Uraguay's Claudio
Horacio Diez 11-6, 11-2, 11-4, but then lost to American Norman Bass in five
games 4-11, 12-10, 11-7, 4-11 and 5-11. Mojtahed was competing in the men's
class 7.
    In the men's class 3, Barry Butler, of Ottawa, ON, coming off a loss
yesterday, fell to Argentina's Gonzalo Acosta 11-5, 5-11, 4-11 and 5-11. In
the same class, Quebec resident Gerald Brule lost to Argentina's Gabriel
Copola Argentina 7-11, 7-11 and 6-11.
    Laurie Sokobwski, of Ottawa,ON, lost in three straight to Brazil's Sonia
Oliveira in the women's class 5 event.
    Here's how Canada did in the other sports:

    ATHLETICS

    Canada's athletics competitors earned three gold medals and a silver,
with wheelchair racer Jessica Matassa, of Windsor, ON, Kris Vriend, of
Edmonton, AB, and Kyle Pettey, of Brampton, ON, coming first.
    Matassa won the gold medal in the women's 800m wheelchair race in
1:56.72, ahead of Mexico's Ariadne Hernandez Rodriguez in second in 2:03.31
and Mexico's Evelyn Enciso Cervantes in third in 2:11.78.
    "In the 800m, that was my fastest time without drafting on another racer.
I don't think I've ever gone under 1:59 on my own," said Matassa, who is back
on the track after missing the entire 2006 season due to multiple surgeries.
    Pettey won the gold with a 9.87-meter toss on his third of six attempts
in the men's F35 shot put. The toss broke his previous Canadian record of 9.23
meters.
    "It's the first time I've been on the top of the podium at a major Games
and heard the anthem played for me. I've been on the podium before but never
for the gold. It's a big confidence boost for the Paralympics next year but I
still have a lot of work to do," he said.
    Vriend earned her gold in the women's T36 shot put with a best toss of
7.73 meters.
    "That was my best throw at an international competition in three years,"
said Vriend. "In that way, it was good."
    Robert Hughes of Mississauga, ON, earned a silver medal with a toss of
8.27 meters in the men's F33 shot put.
    In a women's combined class 100m, Stefanie Reid, of Kingston, ON, placed
fourth and Andrea Holmes, of Vancouver, BC, finished fifth.
    Barry Phelan, coming in second with a time of 12.71, qualified for the
100m final in the T38 category on Thursday. Still suffering from hamstring
problems, Jonathan Dunkerley, of Ottawa, ON, did not qualify for the 200m
final for the visually impaired.

    SEVEN-A-SIDE FOOTBALL

    Canada's seven-a-side football team scored more goals than it ever has in
international competition in defeating Columbia 9-0. The win earns the team
the right to play in the CP-ISRA Worlds in November in Brazil. The top eight
teams at the Worlds advance to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Summer Games.
    The victory also means that Canada advances in the Parapanamerican Games
and will play the top team in the opposite pool, Brazil, on Thursday.
    Dustin Hodgson, of Vancouver, BC, and Scott Van-Den Boogaard, of
Vancouver, BC, had hat tricks, while Matthew Brown, of Fraserville, ON, booted
in two and Jeffrey Buckland, of Vancouver, BC, scored one.
    "I think I scored the first hat trick ever in seven-a-side football for
Canada," said Hodgson, who put three in the net in the first half. "I don't
remember much about the goals; I just remember them going into the net."
    Van-Den Boogaard said, "Three goals are three goals. The opportunity
arose and I scored three goals."
    His best goal was his last - after a little give and go with Hodgson, he
received a nice pass that he booted into the top corner.
    "The win was great but that's now behind us," said Hodgson, adding he's
"relaxing and recuperating as much as possible for the game against Brazil."
    "Tomorrow will be the real test," stated Van-Den Boogaard, who received a
yellow card 51 minutes into the game.
    The Canadians made a point of pressuring their opponents from the opening
whistle. Brown scored Canada's first goal just five minutes into the game,
after Sefik Smajlovic delivered a short ball to him off a corner. Then, Brown
cut into the box and fired at the goal.
    "Our plan was to pressure the Colombians early and not allow them a
chance to feel comfortable in the game," said assistant coach Doug Lusk. "With
a large lead going into the second half we were able to work on possession and
focus on the tactical aspect of our game."

    SWIMMING

    Canada notched up eight gold, five silver and two bronze medals on the
third day of competition at the Parapanamerican Games.
    Valerie Grand'Maison, of Montreal, QC, set a new world record of 4:36.51
in the 400m freestyle in the S13 category. The previous record set by an
American swimmer at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Summer Games was 4:37.62.
    "I felt less pressure than in the 100m free, which is my record. I had
nothing to lose (in the 400m free). That helped a lot because I had less
pressure on my shoulders," said Grand'Maison. "I just wanted to do a great
race. I felt good. I had fun and I'm really happy with the outcome."
    Grand'Maison's coach Pierre Lamy said it's also about giving the swimmers
some international experience prior to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Summer
Games.
    In the 100m men's butterfly in the S11 preliminaries, Donovan Tildesley
set a new Canadian record of 1:10.52. The previous Canadian record was
1:10.62.
    "This morning I had the best race of the meet so far. I swam a personal
best time, except for one small problem. Coming into the wall in butterfly,
you have to touch (the wall) and not recover your arms under the water. I did
a fraction of a stroke so there were some concerns about whether or not I'd be
disqualified," he noted. "I'm a completely blind swimmer so I rely upon a
tapper to hit me on the head to let me know I'm coming into the wall."
    To adjust for the evening swim, he practiced getting tapped farther out
from the wall. But he said a longer tap - that was a bit too long - cost him
about half a second in the final race.
    His time in the final was 1:10.82, which was still good enough for the
gold.
    The other Canadian swimmers winning gold were Darda Geiger, of Sarnia,
ON, in the 100m freestyle in the S9 category in 1:06.37; Anne Polinario, of
Montreal, QC, in the 100m freestyle in the S10 category in 1:03.83; Drew
Christensen, of New Westminster, BC, in the 200m individual medley in the S8
category in 2:43.71; Andrea Cole, of London, ON, in the 200m individual medley
in the S8 category in 3:12.13; and Kirby Cote, of Winnipeg, MB, in the 100m
breaststroke in the S13 category in 1:20.39.
    The last gold medal went to the women's 4x100 medley, composed of
Stephanie Dixon, of Victoria, BC, Brittany Gray, of Barrie, ON, Katarina
Roxon, of Stephenville-Kippens, NL and Cole.

    SITTING VOLLEYBALL

    Canada fell to number-one ranked United States in its international debut
in sitting volleyball. The Canucks stuck to their game plan throughout the
match, but the experience of the Americans enabled them to defeat Canada in
straight sets 25-17, 25-19, 25-12.
    Leading the way for Canada was 7'2" Greg Stewart, of Kamloops, BC, with
13 points on eight kills, three blocks and two service aces. Larry Matthews,
Chad Drummond and José Rebelo all added four points in the Canadian loss,
while Brent Rasmussen led the USA with 10 points.
    "The match was much closer than the scores indicated," said head
coach/player José Rebelo. "This team now respects us. We had a great second
set leading right up to the end, but experience was the difference. We now
meet Brazil, a team we have had two exhibition matches against. We feel that
the improvement and confidence we have built in our short time here gives us a
great outlook on tomorrow's match."
    Despite a lack of international experience in the sitting game, the
Canadian team traveled to Brazil in search of a medal, and ultimately a birth
in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Several Canadian team members are also
on the country's standing volleyball team.
    Canada's sitting volleyball team participated in a number of exhibition
matches to help prepare for its opening match against the USA and the other
teams it will face.

    BASKETBALL - MEN'S

    Backed again by its captain Dave Durepos, Canada downed Brazil 73-41 in
men's wheelchair basketball. In front of a large hometown crowd, Durepos
started the game with a three pointer, and helped Canada pull to a 9-0 lead
right off the start.
    Canada's stuck to its plan of a tight defense, holding the Brazilians to
just four points in the first quarter. At half time, the score stood 37-12 in
favour of the Canadians. Team Canada continued to outwork Brazil, again
forcing many turnovers and scoring 19 points on those key opportunities.
    Head coach Paul Bowes tried some different line combinations, which
contributed to an increased point difference in the game.
    First year player Brandon Wagner, who saw quite a bit of action scored
his first basket in international competition on a great shot from the elbow.
    "This is what the game is all about," said coach Bowes. "We came out
played a great game and were cheered by the fans and the opposing team,
because we are classy and professional both on and off the court."
    High scorers were Durepos with 21 points, Patrick Anderson, of Fergus,
ON, with 20 points; and Adam Lancia, of Toronto, ON, with 9 points.
    Canada, which topped pool A, faces the last seed in pool B Thursday night
at 6 p.m. local time at the Rio Multipurpose Arena.

    BASKETBALL - WOMEN'S

    Canada downed Mexico 54-31, rebounding from Tuesday's defeat to the
United States.
    Canada came out strong, and a wide-lead at the end of the first half
enabled the team to give some court time to the less experienced players.
    "It was a physical game," said Elaine Allard. "We played well defensively
and preserved our intensity throughout the entire game."
    Still in the preliminary round, Canada plays Argentina on Thursday and El
Salvador on Friday. If they win those two games, Canada advances immediately
to the final.
    High scorers were Sabrina Pettinicchi, of Montreal, QC, with 10 points,
and Katie Harnock, of Elmira, ON, with 11 points.




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), norma@paralympic.ca


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