Weekend round-up in Para sport: cross country skiing, alpine skiing, boccia, wheelchair fencing

March 20, 2017

Canada’s Chris Klebl capped off an incredible year that saw him fight back from being hospitalized less than three months ago to finishing his shortened season with a silver medal at the Para-Nordic World Cup Finals in Sapporo, Japan on Sunday.

The 45-year-old Paralympic champion snagged his second podium of the season after winning the silver in the men’s five-kilometre sit-ski competition. Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., posted a time of 14:24.9.

“In the last two weeks, each day has been a guess in terms of how my body might respond to racing,’’ said Klebl. ‘’Missing some crucial training in the middle of winter removed stability and predictability from my fitness and added some frustration to the mix.’’

  The three-time Paralympian took advantage of great skis prepared by the wax crew to put in a solid effort where he finished 13.2 seconds behind the race winner Maksym Yarovyi, of the Ukraine. Yarovyi punched the clock at 14:12.4. Germany’s Martin Fleig won the bronze medal with a time of 14:30.7.

Also on Sunday, Mark Arendz of Hartsville, P.E.I posted his second-straight fourth-place finish in Sapporo this weekend clocking 13:25.0 in the men’s five-kilometre standing division.

“The distance has always been a tough one for me to pace,” said Arendz. “At times I relied too much on my power, and the soft snow conditions absorbed my energy, but I didn't go anywhere. The body wasn't in it quite as much as I needed to reach the podium. I will refocus for the last two biathlon races coming up.”

  Vancouver’s Emily Young posted a fifth-place time of 8:28.5 in the women’s 2.5-kilometre short distance standing event.

  The World Cup Finals continue on Tuesday with the first of back-to-back biathlon events.


Ramsay wins second Crystal Globe as overall World Cup champion

Calgary’s Alana Ramsay closed out the 2016-17 Para alpine World Cup season claiming her second Crystal Globe. After winning the season downhill title earlier this week in PyeongChang, Ramsay went on to clinch the slalom crown as well. She was third in the overall standings. 

In Sunday’s slalom, Ramsay finished fifth while teammates Erin Latimer and Mel Pemble took eighth and ninth respectively. 

In the men’s slalom, Mac Marcoux and guide Jack Leitch, finished just off the podium in fourth-place. In the standing category, Braydon Luscombe had the best Canadian finish of the day placing 12th and Alexis Guimond was 13th-place. 

On Saturday, Guimond, the 17-year-old from Gatineau, Que., took gold in the giant slalom race. He was seventh after the first run, two seconds off the leading time. Hammering down on the second run, he made up the difference to finish in first-place by 0.01.  This is Guimond’s second GS win of the season.   

“The first run was tough to put together a clean run,” said Guimond. “Everything came together at the right rime. It was the perfect storm. Finishing that run and seeing I was sitting in first-place by 0.01 seconds was unbelievable.”

Canadian champions crowned in boccia

The 2017 Canadian Boccia Championship wrapped up Sunday to conclude a three-day tournament which featured 117 games.

Veteran BC1 athlete Eric Lefebvre (Quebec) quickly drew the attention of the crowd as he snuck his way past current national team athletes to the top of the podium for the first time.

Lefebvre has played boccia for more than 20 years.

‘’I am so happy,’’ he said. ‘’I have prepared hard for this all year by making mental preparation a key to my training. This is my first gold and I could not be more excited.’’ Hanif Mawji (British Columbia) and Keven Smith-Worthylake (Ontario) won silver and bronze.

Other winners were  Eric Bussiere (Quebec) who went undefeated to win the BC3 crown; Tammy McLeod (Ontario) in BC 2 and Marco Dispaltro in BC4. Newfoundland and Labrador won gold in the team event for first time in BC 1-2 while Quebec was first in BC3 and BC 4 team events.

Wheelchair fencers gained valuable World Cup experience

Montreal wheelchair fencers Matthieu Hébert and Camille Chai competed this past weekend at a World Cup in Pisa, Italy.

Chai took 11th place in women’s sabre posting a 1-5 record. Due to the snowstorm in Montreal she did not arrive in time to compete in Friday’s epee.

Hébert, a 2016 Paralympian, went 2-3 in pool play, won his round of 32 before falling in the round of 16 for 16th place.