(Team Canada third Ina Forrest and skip Jim Armstrong at 2017 World Wheelchair Curling Championships (WCF/Céline Stucki photo)
Canada’s cyclists picked-up from where they left off in Rio, the Para ice hockey team savored victory and our wheelchair curlers are off to a solid start at the world championships in a banner weekend for Maple Leaf-wearing athletes in Paralympic sport.
At the Para cycling world track championships in Los Angeles, Canada earned seven medals – four gold and three silver this past weekend (March 2 to 5, 2017). At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this past summer, Canada’s riders totalled nine medals on the track and road, tops among all Canadian sports at those Games.
Tristen Chernove of Cranbrook, B.C., and Ross Wilson of Sherwood Park, Alta., both won gold medals in their respective 1000-m time trials and 3000-m individual pursuits.
“For Tristen, his qualifier (in the pursuit) was a race against adversity,” said head coach Sébastien Travers. “After unclipping at the start, Tristen kept going and was headed for a personal best., Tristen went for the pass, but the Spaniard sped up, forcing Tristen to stay high for four laps, therefore doing a longer distance. Tristen still managed to get the best time, which was the objective.”
Wilson was dominant in his pursuit final.
“In the finals, we opted for an aggressive pace, which paid off as Ross lapped his opponent, therefore securing the rainbow jersey,” said Travers.
Marie-Claude Molnar of St-Hubert, Que., completed the medal collection with silver in the women’s C4 500-m time trial, 3000-m individual pursuit and scratch race. The latter two were both won on Saturday March 4.
“Day 3 was a long day for Marie-Claude,” said head coach Sebastien Travers. “She raced two pursuits (qualifier and final) and a scratch race. The qualifying was a first good test, as Marie rode better than expected and set a very good baseline for the coming season. In the final, she went for it and did a personal best on her opening Kilo.”
Canada wins Para ice hockey worlds tune-up
Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.) led the way with a hat trick and two assists in the championship game, and Canada won gold at the 2017 International Para Hockey Tournament with an 8-1 win over Norway on Saturday (March 4) in Turin, Italy.
The tournament was a warm-up event for next month’s world championships April 12 to 17 in PyeongChang, site of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
It’s the second consecutive gold at the event for the Canadians, who also took the top prize in 2015.
Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) scored twice and added three assists to join McGregor with a five-point performance, while Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) chipped in with two goals and two helpers.
Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.) had the other Canadian goal.
McGregor ended his week with a tournament-leading 14 points (six goals, eight assists), just ahead of Dixon (7-5-12) and Westlake (4-8-12).
The Canadians outscored the opposition 29-2 in their five wins.
Canada rocks so far at wheelchair curling worlds
Team Canada remains in second place in the standings after a strong 8-2 win Monday (March 6) over Germany as the round robin continues at the 2017 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Gangneung, South Korea.
The competition is also a venue test event for next year’s Paralympic Winter Games.
Skip Jim Armstrong, vice-skip Ina Forrest, second Marie Wright, lead Mark Ideson, alternate Ellis Tull and coach Wayne Kiel got off to a slow start against Germany’s Christiane Putzich and needed some rescue shots from Armstrong to score singles in the early ends.
But they found their groove in the sixth, making eight perfect shots to score three, and followed that up with a steal of two to put the game away.
After five games, Canada has just one loss and sits alone in second place in the standings behind undefeated Russia.