Medal bonanza for Canadian para-swimmers at Parapan

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TORONTO – Para-swimmers won Canada’s 17 medals on Sunday to boost the host country from fourth to second overall in the podium count at the Parapan American Games.

Canada now boasts eight gold, 11 silver and 14 bonze for 33 overall after 16 trips to the podium on Saturday.  Brazil leads at 16-10-8-34 and Mexico is third at 7-6-8-21.  Colombia is fourth and the U.S. fifth.
Toronto, Ontario, August 9, 2015. Morgan Bird wins gold in the womens 50m freestyle at the 2015 Parapan Am Games . Photo Scott Grant/Canadian Paralympic Committee
The steady stream of trips to the podium by Canadian swimmers turned into a raging torrent as Canada won 17 medals on Sunday.
Morgan Bird, of Calgary, won two gold medals, Nicolas Turbide, of Quebec City, won his second gold in as many nights and Canadians swept two events to finish the night with five gold, five silver and seven bronze.
Turbide and Zack McAllister of Lethbridge, Alta., also set Americas records as Canada increased its count to 24 medals (six gold, nine silver, nine bronze), tops so far at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre.
Gold medallists were: Bird S8 400-meter freestyle and 50-m freestyle; Turbide S12-13 100-m  backstroke; James Leroux of Repentigny, Que., S9 100-m breaststroke and Zack McAllister of Lethbridge, Alta., S8 50-m freestyle.
Silver medallists: Devin Gotell of Montreal in the S12-13 100-m backstroke; Isaac Bouckley, Montreal S9 100-m breaststroke; McAllister S8 400-m freestyle; Aurélie Rivard, Ste-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., S9 100-m breaststroke and Katarina Roxon of Kippens, N.L. in the S9 400-m freestyle.
Bronze medallists: Tyler Mrak of Aldergrove, B.C., S12-13 100-m backstroke; Alec Elliot, of Kitchener, Ont., S9 100-m breaststroke; . Chris Sergeant-Tsonos of Kingston, Ont., S8 50-m freestyle; Zach Zona of Waterford, Ont., S8 400-m freestyle; Sabrina Duchesne of Quebec City, S8 400-m freestyle; Sarah Girard of Montreal S9 100-m breaststroke; and Canada’s 4×50-m 20-point mixed relay team of Tammy Cunnington of Red Deer, Alta., Daniel Murphy of Bedford, N.S., Adam Purdy of London, Ont., and Valerie Drapeau of Longueuil, Que.,
“I did not see that coming,” said Bird, 21, who has cerebral palsy.  “It’s been a busy night for me. I followed both race plans well I think. I’m really happy with the results.”
Samuel Charron of Ottawa scored the winning goal with six minutes remaining in the match to lead Canada to a thrilling 2-1upset victory over the United States on Sunday in Football 7 at the Parapan American Games.
Canada evened its record at one win and one loss and is in third place.  Argentina which defeated Venezuela 4-0 is 2-0 for first, followed by Brazil (1-0) while the Venezuelans are winless.
Charron, the 17-year-old boy wonder on the world number-10 Canadian squad completed a pretty passing play from Matt Brown of Fraserville, Ont. to send the home crowd, that included Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, into a frenzy.
”This is a big emotional win for us,” said Charron, who scored Canada’s goal in a 3-1 loss to Argentina on Saturday. ”We are a longshot to win here but we are Canadians and we are going to push through the adversity.”
Karen Van Nest of Wiarton, Ont. worked out the kinks from her morning qualifying rounds to qualify for the gold medal final tomorrow in the women’s open compound division of para-archery at the 2015 Parapan Am American Games in Toronto.
Van Nest shot a 645 in the morning qualifying rounds to finish second heading into the afternoon’s elimination rounds. There she bested American Martha Chavez in the semi-finals with a score of 140-121 to advance to the gold medal final on Monday.
“The competition went really well,” said Van Nest. “I struggled in the morning, I wasn’t on my game but in the afternoon it fell together. At first I was nervous, (at competing in the finals lane which is right in front of the spectators), but then I relaxed. The game plan is to stay focused and to stay in my zone.”
Defending 2011 Parapan Am Games champion Kevin Evans of Jaffray, B.C. led the charge on the men’s compound open side, advancing to the bronze medal final after losing 143-140 to Andre Shelby of the USA in his semi-final match.
Alec Denys of Warsaw and Bob Hudson lost in the quarterfinals.
Van Nest’s gold medal match takes place at 10:24 AM EST on Monday. Evan’s bronze medal match will start at 10:48 AM EST.
Team Canada flag bearer and world number-one Marco Dispaltro of St-Jerome, Que., won his opening singles match in boccia on Sunday at the Parapan American Games.
Fresh from a silver medal on Saturday in the pairs competition, Dispaltro scored a 10-1 win against José Buzzo of Argentina in the BC4 category.
“I was the favourite and I played like the favourite,” said Dispaltro.  “It’s amazing. We have been waiting for this a long time. People here have reacted positively to the Games. It’s nice to see the crowds out at the Abilities Centre (in Whitby).”
Adam Dukovich of Ottawa, Hanif Mawji of Vancouver, and Eric Bussière of Montreal were also early round winners.
The Canadian men’s goalball team continued their winning streak at the 2015 Parapan Am Games today with a 7-2 win over Argentina.
“One game at a time, one ball at a time. That’s what we are trying to do here and we are on a mission,” said Simon Richard of Dieppe, N.B. “We have two wins, but we aren’t 
done yet.”
The women’s team bounced back from their loss to Brazil yesterday with a dominating 10-0 win over Guatemala today.
“We started off a little slow,” said Whitney Bogart of Marathon, Ont. “We kept to our game plan though and we ended up getting the win that we wanted. (The) plan was to go in strong and come out strong.”
Canadian powerlifter Dylan Sparks set a personal best today with a lift of 80 kgs at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. The 17-year-old from Grande Prairie, Alta finished seventh in the men’s 59kg category.
“I performed even better than I expected,” said Sparks. “There’s an amazing atmosphere here at the Parapan Am Games!”
Sparks’ competition got off to a rocky start when his first lift of 72 kgs was disqualified. On the next lift, however, he corrected the problem and received three white lights on his 75 kg attempt, signifying a perfect lift. On his third attempt, he successfully lifted 80 kg. Sparks’ previous personal best was 70 kg, which he earned at the 2015 IPC Powerlifting Americas Open Championships in March.
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Toronto, Ontario, August 9, 2015. Canada vs USA seated Volleyball 2015 Parapan Am Games . Photo Scott Grant/Canadian Paralympic Committee
Canada’s sitting volleyball teams learned some valuable lessons from the sport’s superpowers on Sunday at the Parapan American Games.
In men’s competition, the Canadians fell to Brazil 25-16, 25-15, 25-23 in a 78 minute match in which they showed moments of brilliance.  The Canadians are now 1-1 after an easy victory on Saturday. Canada needs to win the tournament or finish second to Brazil to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
”It was a good battle we came well prepared,” said player Jamoi Anderson of Toronto.  ”We fell a little short but learned a lot.  Hopefully we will meet them later on in the week in the playoffs.”
On the women’s side, Canada lost to the U.S., the reigning world champions, in its opening match 25-1, 25-14, 25-11. The Canadians received a rousing ovation from the crowd after the match for their effort.
”We didn’t have a good start, we were nervous playing the Americans,” said player Chantal Beauchesne of Petawawa, Ont.  ”Once we calmed down and realized that this wasn’t the most important match in the world, we just played our game.”
MARKHAM, Ont. – Ian Kent of Eastern Passage, N.S. won two matches including his quarterfinal encounter to advance to the final four in his men’s singles category at the Parapan American Games.
Kent went 3-0 in the round robin then defeated Ruperto Morales Cortes of Chile 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 to advance to the semis on Monday.
“Theoretically, at my age, I shouldn’t be doing as well as I am,” said Kent. “The bigger the matches, the more psychology comes into play. I feel very good mentally and at the table. When I’m at the table, I’m winning most of the points, so I feel good. I’m not changing anything.
In women’s singles, Chan beat Paola Ranieli of Argentina 11-0, 11-2, 11-5 to finish the round robin first at 3-0.  She will play for gold on Monday.
Kent semifinal is at 10 a.m. Monday and if he wins the championship match is at 1:40 p.m. Chan’s gold medal match is at 10:40 a.m.
Janet McLachlan scored 13 points to lead Canada to an 80-39 victory against Mexico in women’s wheelchair basketball at the Parapan American Games.
Tracey Ferguson and Rosalie Lalonde added 12 and 11 apiece for the Canadians. Canada and Brazil are tied atop the pool A standings with 2-0 records.
“I’m feeling very good, we played well. It was an important game for us, and we came out well,” said McLachlan.  ” I think we come into every game with that goal in mind, to play the best basketball we can as a team; we’ll see where we end up. We have our goals, but the first thing is to play good basketball.” 
Team Canada Wheelchair Rugby beat Colombia 76-32 to remain undefeated in the round robin pool at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. Though Canada leapt out to an early lead, the game’s hard hits kept the fans cheering.
“We don’t take anyone lightly,” said Canada’s Zak Madell after the game. “Every team is gunning for us, so we always bring out best.”
Madell and teammate Fabien Lavoie led each scored 19 points. Colombia’s Jhon Orozco Nunez, however, was the game high scorer with 20 points. Unfortunately, Colombia’s 39 turnovers made it difficult for them to close the lead.
Joel Dembe of Toronto as well as Yuka Chokyu and Mika Ishikawa, both of Vancouver, all won their opening singles matches on Sunday in wheelchair tennis at the Parapan American Games.
In men’s competition, Dembe defeated Mauricio Vega of Colombia 6-3, 6-1 before a hometown crowd at the University of Toronto Tennis Centre in Scarborough.
“I had a solid game-plan today against my opponent and I executed everything pretty much on target,” said Dembe. “I controlled most of the points and was able to hit a lot of winners. Overall, I’m pleased with my performance today.”
On the women’s side, Chokyu needed over two hours to eliminated Rejane Candida of Brazil 6-7, 6-2, 6-1. 
”It’s so nice out here that I wanted to play a long time,” joked Chokyu.  ”This was the biggest game I played since 2008 and with the home crowd I was putting too much pressure on myself. After the first set I just left the court area and regrouped.”
Ishikawa also had a tough match defeating Rosalba Vazquez of Mexico 6-3, 7-6.

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