Toronto, ON – Aug 15 2015 – Canada vs. Venezuela in the Football 7-a-side Bronze Medal game on the Parapan Am Fields during the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games (Photo: Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee)
Toronto (August 15, 2015) – Canada concluded its most successful Parapan Am Games finishing second in the overall medal count behind Brazil and ahead of the U.S. Canada set a bold objective of a top 3 overall standing for the 2015 Parapan Am Games. Team Canada collected a total of 168 medals (50 Gold, 63 Silver, and 55 Bronze).
“I’m very proud of team Canada. Our goal was top 3 and we finished with a number 2 spot. It was a great opportunity to rehearse every aspect of a major international Games, from being on a team with other sports, to living in an athlete village and travelling to completion venues, this has prepared our athletes to be their best in Rio at the 2016 Paralympic Games,” said Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young.
On Saturday, Canada added a bronze in men’s goalball and a silver in men’s wheelchair basketball. Those results qualified both teams for the Paralympic Games.
MEN’S WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL
The Canadian Parapan Am Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team took home silver from the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and qualified for Rio 2016 in the process. Canada concluded the tournament with five wins and one loss after the USA defeated them in the final 62-39.
The USA sprung out to an early lead and never looked back thanks in part to some sharp shooting by their veterans. After two quarters Canada trailed 40-16 and had difficultly finding their rhythm. At that point the USA was shooting 58% from the field compared to Canada’s 30%.
David Eng, of Montreal, Que. led the Canucks offence early on scoring 10-of-his-12 points in the first three quarters. Late in the game it was Nik Goncin, of Regina, Sask., that took over scoring all but four of his game high 17 points and 11 rebounds including three consecutive three-pointers late in the game.
“I’m really proud of my teammates to be able to fight that hard and never give up even though we were down by a lot. The crowd was amazing. Even though we were down, their energy showed that Canada was behind us and it just made us not give up and keep wanting to go more. I just can’t thank the fans enough,” said Eng.
Overall Eng and Goncin finished second and third in tournament scoring averaging 16.8 and 16.7 points respectively. Goncin also finished second in the tournament with 10 three-pointers through six games.
Bo Hedges, of Wonowon, B.C., led Canada with three assists in the game and 25 overall through six games. He finished fifth in the tournament in that category.
“We knew it’s going to be a tough game. They scored so many times, but our main goal was to qualify to Rio which we accomplished,” said Abdi Dini, of Scarborough, Ont.
“We have a really young team. Lots of our guys have never been in a gold medal game. I think it’s really a good experience for them and my whole team since we’re a young team. It’s really great for them to get that experience and to lose a gold medal, it’s going to give them energy to dig within themselves to get that extra motivation and get to that extra level to get ready for next year,” said Eng.
The gold medal game was seen live on CBC TV across the country.
Canada rebounded from a heartbreaking loss to the USA in yesterday’s semi-final to win the bronze medal over Argentina with a final score of 13-3. Canada qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio with the win.
The team started with the same starting line-up as yesterday with Brendan Gaulin of Vancouver, B.C providing the fire-power on the right wing to score 3, as well as 3 penalties. Aron Ghebreyohannes of Calgary, Alta. covered the left wing to also score three and 1 penalty, and Ahmad Zeividavi of Vancouver, B.C. returned in the centre-position as the star of Canada’s defense and also scored once. Bruno Hache of Longueuil, Que. was subbed in for Gaulin during the second half to score twice more for Canada.
“It was tough (to come back from the loss to the USA) because I considered it unfair, it was the referee’s mistake that we lost (the semifinal),” said Zeividavi. “But we came in with full confidence thanks to the support of our coaches, teammates, staff, and the support of our home crowd and I think we did what we needed to do.”
Gaulin was visibly moved after the win and commented, “We gelled so well as a team together. It’s one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with chemistry-wise and we’re just so excited to have qualified for Rio.”
Brazil dominated the USA in the gold-medal final, beating the USA 10-4.
TORONTO (August 15, 2015) Canada’s Sam Charron could barely walk out the stadium with scrapes on one knee and his face, another leg jammed and suffering from heat exhaustion. The 17-year-old Ottawa resident and his teammates gave every ounce of energy they had but in the end Venezuela defeated Canada 2-1 to win the bronze medal in football 7 (soccer) at the Parapan American Games.
The fourth place finish was not Canada’s objective at these Games.
”I’m disappointed with myself that we couldn’t pull through for the fans,” said Charron, who scored four goals in the tournament. ”It’s another stepping stone and I feel we are improving every time out.”
Jose Quintana opened the scoring in the 17th minute on a hot and muggy morning at Parapan Am Field. The Canadians seemed to improve as the watch wore on but they were thwarted early in the second half when Jessy Villegas made it 2-0.
The Venezuelans stayed aggressive through to end. Charron scored on a header in the dying moments of the game.
”In the dressing room before the game we could tell they were nervous,” said Canada’s head coach Drew Ferguson. ”We were sloppy in a lot of areas and paid for it. It’s disappointing not to win the bronze, especially at home.”
The Canadian team fielded five 20 and under players this week and suffered a major blow in its win against the U.S. last Sunday when its best player Trevor Stiles of Victoria went down with a knee injury.
”Going forward is very positive, our young players are learning through these experience,” said Ferguson.
Canada ended the tournament with an overall record of one win, three losses and a tie.
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