Canadian para-athletes triumph on land, sea and mountains

February 1, 2016

Sailors, skiers and riders hung gold medals around their necks on three different continents in a memorable week for Canadian para-athletes.

Sonar team

In Miami, Canada ruled international waters in the Sonar division as Paul Tingley of Halifax, Logan Campbell of Saskatoon and Scott Lutes of Montreal posted victories in three of the 10 races at a week-long World Cup sailing event.

The Canadian trio took control of the event placing first in the fifth, sixth and seventh races. They opened with two second-place finishes and also had two third-place results. The Canadian crew’s aggregated results were enough to give them the overall win in the event. Australia was second and France third.

“The very best in the world are here and we beat the best,” Tingley, a 2008 Paralympic Games champion, told the International Sailing Federation. “Gold is the reassurance we needed going into Rio. We are committed to the process. We have worked hard on our communication and as a result, we executed really well this week.”

Bruce Millar of Victoria added a silver in the 2.4m sailing event, earning two victories and top-three finishes in nine of the 10 races. Helena Lucas of Britain won the last six races for gold. Peter Eagar of Toronto was in the medal mix all week and took fifth overall.

Arendz opens para-nordic skiing season in grand style

Mark Arendz of Hartsville, PEI, won a gold and two silver medals at the IPC Asian Cup held this past week in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the host city for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Arendz’s victory was in Sunday’s 12.5 kilometre men’s individual biathlon race ahead of two Russian rivals.  It was the first international biathlon victory in over two years for the two-time Paralympic medallist.

“It was a solid field here so to put the race together, a performance worthy of a win feels awesome,” said Arendz, a lower arm amputee, in a Cross Country Canada news release. “I controlled the race right from the start. I was making great time on the skis and focused on smooth shooting bouts.”

Arendz also won silver in the 7.5 kilometre biathlon sprint on Saturday and the cross country sprint on Thursday.

In addition to Arendz’s three medals, national team rookie Emily Webster of Caledon, Ont., won her first international bronze medal, while Chris Klebl of Canmore, Alta., and Brittany Hudak of Saskatoon also claimed one silver medal each.

Massie adds to Canada’s medal haul at X Games

Alex Massie of Barrie, Ont., contributed to Canada’s 11-medal haul at the X Games this past weekend in Aspen, Colorado taking silver in the snowboarder X adaptive competition. He was second to Matti Suur-Hamari of Finland by a mere 0.711 seconds. American rider Ben Tudhope was third.

The right-leg amputee enjoyed an amazing rookie season in 2015 with bronze at the XGames and world championships.

Alpine World Cup recap

Mac Marcoux, BJ Marcoux, Alana Ramsay

On Friday, Canada’s para-alpine skiing team completed a successful month-long European Tour, which included four World Cup events. They were held in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Tarvisio, Italy, St. Moritz, Switzerland and Tignes, France.

The Marcoux brothers, Mac and his guide/brother B.J. of Sault Ste Marie, Ont., collected three gold medals and a silver.

It was a breakthrough month for three other Canadian skiers. Kurt Oatway of Calgary who won his first career World Cup races with victories in the men’s downhill sitting and giant slalom. Braydon Luscombe of Duncan, B.C., also reached the World Cup podium for the first time in his career with third place in the men’s standing downhill on Wednesday. Alana Ramsay from Calgary added two bronze medals – her first trips to the World Cup podium.