Canada’s Doug Blessin places heartbreaking fourth in shooting at Parapan Ams

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 21, 2023

Canadian veteran battled illness to fight for a medal

Doug Blessin

SANTIAGO – Canadian Para sport shooter Doug Blessin, a three-time Paralympian, said it was tough to finish fourth at the Parapan Am Games Tuesday but it wasn’t nearly as tough as enduring the stomach flu over the past few days.

‘’My last few days have been really painful,’’ the 50-year-old Port Coquitlam, B.C. resident admitted after the SH2 mixed 10m air rifle standing final. ‘’I’ve been really, really sick. I’m one of the few people that got the stomach bug. I spent four days stuck in my room and I was only able to come out on the first day of competition.’’

‘’It was very tough to get to this point.’’

That first day was Monday in which Blessin took fifth in the 10m air rifle prone position before improving a spot Tuesday.

Alexandre Galgani of Brazil set a Games record 252.3 points for the gold in the SH2 classification event. Carmelo Milan of Uruguay was second at 248.0 and Maria Rodriguez of Argentina third at 226.6. SH2 category is for those that use a shooting stand to support the firearm’s weight.

Blessin, who shoots from a wheelchair, finished with 205.50. He wavered between third and sixth throughout the final round. After ranking fifth in the preliminaries, Blessin was fifth during the first two rounds in the final but in the second elimination he notched the best score of the eight finalists to jump into third.

‘’We see the scores throughout the match and I work better under stress,’’ said Blessin, injured in a car accident in December 1995. ‘’It gives me an indication that I need to be more still and be more relaxed and take my shots appropriately.’’

Lyne Tremblay of Magog, Que., also a three-time Paralympian, took eighth spot after placing ninth in the prone event on Monday. She’s been battling illness this year but there was no way she was going to miss these Games.

‘’I’m climbing gradually and I attained certain objectives today,’’ said Tremblay, 60. ‘’But I definitely wanted to be here at the Games. These kinds of experiences are extremely valuable.’’

Shooting Para sport made its Parapan Am Games debut in 2019 at Lima, Peru. Canada did not have any shooters for those Games. Both Canadian competitors says the Games are important for the Canadian program.

‘’The more Games you can attend the better it is for the athletes,’’ said Blessin. ‘’Being put under the pressure of competition is super helpful. I love it.’’

Both athletes say they will continue to work towards getting a spot for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

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