Canadian Paralympic Team opens with two medals on Day 1 at Tokyo 2020

Canadian Paralympic Committee

August 25, 2021

Keely Shaw wins Canada’s first medal of the Games, a bronze in Para cycling


TOKYO – Canada opened the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Wednesday with two bronze medals courtesy of Para cyclist Keely Shaw (Midale, SK) and Para swimmer Aurélie Rivard (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC), and a big victory to start the women’s wheelchair basketball tournament. 


BRONZE – Keely Shaw, Para Track Cycling, Women’s C4 3000m Individual Pursuit 
BRONZE – Aurélie Rivard, Para Swimming, Women’s 50m freestyle S10  


Gold: 0
Silver: 0 
Bronze: 2 
Total: 2


•    Keely Shaw got Canada’s Para cycling team off to a roaring start, securing Canada’s first medal of Tokyo 2020, winning a bronze in the women’s C4 3000m individual pursuit with a personal best time of 3:48.342. She held off Australia’s Meg Lemon in the bronze-medal race for her first Paralympic medal, in her debut appearance. Para cycling was Canada’s most successful sport at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with nine medals. 

“I’m really glad I was able to put down the times that I knew we could accomplish in the bronze-medal match when it really matters,” said Shaw. “I felt way better going into my medal race than I did going into my qualifier, and I think it showed with my performance. Meg was definitely catching up, she gave me the race of a lifetime especially in the last 500 metres, and I’m just so happy I was able to bring it home.” 

•    Para swimming superstar Aurélie Rivard added another bronze medal to Canada’s total a few hours later, in the women’s 50m freestyle S10. The defending Paralympic champion in the event, she finished in third position with a time of 28.11 behind RPC’s Anastasiia Gontar and Chantalle Zijderveld of the Netherlands. It is Rivard’s sixth career Paralympic medal (a haul which now includes three gold, two silver, and one bronze) in her third Games. 

“Just standing on the podium at the Games is something really special regardless of the position and the colour of the medal,” Rivard said post-race. “This said, I didn’t have a bronze medal in my collection and I didn’t really want one. I didn’t have a good race but the girls deserve the gold and silver medals. Of course I wanted to win my title back, which is disappointing, but I’m going to deal with that later.”    

In other swimming results, Shelby Newkirk (Saskatoon, SK) and Nicholas Bennett (Parksville, BC) both set new Canadian records in their respective events (women’s 50m freestyle S6 and men’s 100m butterfly S14) but just missed out on qualifying for the finals. Alec Elliot (Kitchener, ON) and Angela Marina (Cambridge, ON) also did not make it out of the heats. 

•    In wheelchair basketball, the Canadian women’s team opened its tournament on a strong note with a 73-54 triumph over Great Britain. After trailing by a close margin through most of the first half, Canada tied it up at 35-35 partway through the third quarter and never looked back, opening up an insurmountable lead in the final few minutes. Kady Dandeneau (Pender Island, BC) was Canada’s high scorer with 32 points and a triple-double in her first Paralympic game, while Rosalie Lalonde (Saint-Clet, QC) and Arinn Young (Legal, AB) chipped in with 20 and 12 points apiece.  

“We got the win, so regardless of what my stat line was, I think I’d be pretty happy because that was a pretty big game against GB,” said Dandeneau. “They’re a pretty solid team, so that was cool. It definitely feels good to be a big contributor in games like that. Honestly, it was just a really good team win. I have my teammates to thank for a lot of that. They’re getting me open. It’s definitely very much a team thing.”

•    Canada’s wheelchair rugby team was defeated 50-47 by Great Britain in its debut game of Tokyo 2020. While it was a tight match throughout, the Brits took a slight lead in the first quarter and never relinquished it from there. Canada will now look ahead to its next match-up against USA on Thursday. 

“[This was our] first international game in 18 months. I am proud of how the guys performed,” said head coach Patrick Côte (Montreal, QC). “Tough start, we didn’t get a few bounces in the game which gave momentum to [Great Britain]. We fought our way back; we did some turnovers and couldn’t convert on the last possession at the end of the third and in the fourth, that was pretty much the game. Our transition on offence, our key defence in the second half, those are all things we want to carry over to the American game.” 

•    Wheelchair fencer Pierre Mainville (St-Colomban, QC) advanced to the round of 16 in the men’s category B sabre event before dropping a 15-9 decision to France’s Maxime Valet. Teammates Matthieu Hébert (Beauharnois, QC), Ryan Rousell (Saskatoon, SK), and Ruth Sylvie Morel (Pincourt, QC) did not make it out of the group stage in their respective sabre events on Wednesday. Each will compete once more this week, with Mainville and Rousell in the epee and Hébert and Morel in the foil. With four athletes in Tokyo, this is Canada’s largest wheelchair fencing team ever at a Paralympic Games. 

“It was a pretty intense and crazy experience,” said Rousell, about his first-ever Paralympic Games appearance. “I thought the competition would be more toned down because of COVID but the atmosphere was fierce. I could have done a lot better. I think I’ll be more prepared now in my next event. I’m looking forward to it.”

•    In women’s goalball action, Canada took on reigning world champions RPC to open its tournament, and fell 5-1 after a quick start from their opponents. “We came to the game well prepared, but we had too slow a start,” said head coach Trent Farebrother (Castor, AB). “When you let in a goal 21 seconds in it’s hard to recover. But they are a top-ranked team and getting that goal at the end should give us some confidence.”


CLICK HERE for the complete Canadian Paralympic Team results on August 25.  

Photo: Jean-Baptiste Benavent/Cycling Canada

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