RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (September 15, 2016) – Christine Gauthier (Pointe-Claire, QC) finished fourth at the Paralympic Games today in the Women’s KL2 200m.
She was one spot and 1.31 of a second away from claiming one of the first-ever Paralympic medals to be presented in the sport of Paracanoe.
Gauthier said the wind was a challenge for her as without lower body movement, the waves make balancing and steering without a rudder even harder. She struggled off the start and was seventh at the half-way mark. In the final hundred metres, she came through to move up to fourth place.
“I’m a strong finisher. Unfortunately, it was 200 and not 250 metres,” remarked Gauthier. “These kind of races, everything has to be at the right moment.”
Gauthier is a five-time World Champion in Paracanoe. At 46 years-old she’s hopeful Paracanoe’s debut at the Paralympic Games will inspire the next generation of Paralympians.
“Most of all, I want Canada to do well. I would ask nothing more than for some young paddlers to come and take my spot.”
Gauthier’s comment about young up-and-comers in the sport was fittingly followed by a seventh place performance by her 20-year-old teammate, Erica Scarff (Mississauga, ON) in the Women’s KL3 200m.
“It happened so fast,” Scarff said of her Paralympic final. “I had an okay start. Yesterday I had my best start ever and in the second half I seemed to fall behind. Hopefully over the next year I’ll focus on maintaining my speed throughout the race.”
Scarff, already looking ahead to her challenge, took up the sport just three years ago. She competed at the World Championships for the first time in 2015. She finished sixth at the last Paracanoe World Championships in May 2016 to qualify the boat for the first Paralympic Games to ever include Paracanoe.