Day 4 Recap: Aurélie Rivard wins Canada’s first gold medal of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Canadian Paralympic Committee

August 28, 2021

Brent Lakatos captures silver in 5000m wheelchair race


TOKYO – The Tokyo 2020 Canadian Paralympic Team’s two most prolific medallists added to their already-impressive resumes on Saturday. Aurélie Rivard (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) gave Canada its first golden performance of Tokyo 2020 with a record-breaking swim for her seventh Paralympic medal, while wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos (Dorval, QC) added a silver – his eighth Paralympic podium – in his first event. Canada now holds eight medals – two per day – at the end of day four in Tokyo. 

GOLD – Aurélie Rivard, Para Swimming, Women’s 100m freestyle S10 
SILVER – Brent Lakatos, Para Athletics, Men’s T54 5000m  

Gold: 1
Total: 8


•    Aurélie Rivard set not one, but two, world records en route to winning Canada’s first gold medal of these Games. After bettering her own women’s 100m freestyle S10 world record in the heats, she smashed it even more in the final with a time of 58.14. She was the only swimmer to touch the wall in under 60 seconds. With the gold, Rivard retains her Paralympic title in this event from Rio 2016. She now has seven Paralympic medals through three Games – four gold, two silver, and one bronze, with that third-place podium coming on day one in Tokyo in the 50m freestyle S10.   

“It’s probably one of the greatest swims of my life technically,” said Rivard. “Today is even more special than it should be, winning gold, especially coming from kind of a failure from me on day one. I was expecting to win gold [in the 50 free], I’m not going to lie, and I didn’t. So to have been able to go through that and step up and give my best, especially with the year that we’ve had, with absolutely nothing in terms of competitions, it’s almost surreal that this moment is even happening. I just have a lot of emotions going through my head.”

Camille Bérubé (Gatineau, QC) made her second Paralympic final in two days, and finished eighth in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB6. She qualified for the final with a Canadian record time of 1:42.80 in the heats.  

Rivard and Bérubé were the two Canadians to make finals on the day. In the morning heats, Nikita Ens (Meadow Lake, SK) and Danielle Kisser (Delta, BC) both made their first Paralympic appearances. Ens posted a Canadian SM3 record time of 4:34.01 in the women’s 150m individual medley SM4 heats, finishing sixth, while Kisser was fifth in her heat of the women’s 100m breaststroke SB6. Tammy Cunnington (Red Deer, AB) was also fifth in her heat in the women’s 150m individual medley SM4, and Matthew Cabraja (Brampton, ON) was fifth in the second heat of the men’s 100m backstroke S11.

•    Adding long distance races to his repertoire after Rio 2016 has paid off for Brent Lakatos, as he captured a silver medal in the men’s T54 5000m race on the track. Lakatos took the lead in the last two laps of the race but was just caught down the final straight by champion Marcel Hug of Switzerland. He finished in 10:30.19. This is Lakatos’ first Paralympic appearance in the 5000m distance, and his first of the Tokyo Games where he is planning to race six distances ranging from the 100m to marathon. Lakatos, in his fifth Games, now holds eight Paralympic medals (one gold, five silver, two bronze). 

“This one is quite different. It’s my first medal in the T54 category and it’s my first medal in a long distance race. It’s great to get out there and race against those guys. It’s such a competitive field and anyone can win it,” said Lakatos. “It was a great race. I had tons of fun out there. It was really strategic. I got myself in a great spot and gave myself a great chance to win and it almost happened.”

Also in Para athletics, runner Guillaume Ouellet (Victoriaville, QC) headed the pack for part of the T13 5000m final but ultimately fell behind late to post a fifth-place finish with a time of 14:47:47. 
•    Twenty-one years after her first Paralympic appearance in Para swimming, and 13 years after her last, Jessica Tuomela (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) was back on the Paralympic stage on Saturday – this time in the sport of Para triathlon. She and guide Marianne Hogan (Montreal, QC) finished fifth in the women’s PTVI event. Tuomela and Hogan had a strong swim and bike, and were in second position heading into the final leg, but dropped back during a tough 5K run. They crossed the finish line in 1:12:53.   

“We worked really hard and I think we executed as well as we could,” said Tuomela. “The swim was awesome, and the bike was incredible. The run wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be, but this is the Paralympic Games, and it is nothing to shake a stick at. There is room for improvement, and I think that is what is really cool about triathlon – there are always ways to get better.”

•    Canada closed out the wheelchair rugby tournament on a positive note – with a 57-49 victory over France to take fifth place. Zak Madell (Okotoks, AB) was a star for Canada, scoring 31 tries, while all 12 players contributed to the triumph. 

•    Top-ranked Alison Levine (Montreal, QC) started her individual BC4 campaign in boccia on a winning note, taking down Slovakian Martin Streharsky 4-3 in her first match. Up 3-0 at the halfway mark before her opponent pulled off a game-tying third end, Levine notched a point in the final period to take the victory.  

“It was by far not my best game, but it felt good to break the ice after two years without a competition,” said Levine. “A win was what was most important so that I got that momentum going. I know my confidence will continue to grow as the tournament goes on.”

Iulian Ciobanu (Montreal) also picked up a win in the BC4 competition, capturing the tiebreaker against Portugal’s Carla Oliveira after the game was even at 3-3 apiece following the conclusion of four ends. For Ciobanu, this is his first individual competition at the Paralympic Games, as he competed in Rio only in the pairs event. 

Danik Allard (Bois-des-Filion, QC) fell 8-4 to Portugal’s Cristina Goncalves in his opener, his first ever Paralympic appearance. Falling behind early, the BC2 player came back to lead 4-3 after three ends but Goncalves engineered a superb fourth end to claim the win.      

•    In goalball, the Canadian women dropped a 4-3 decision to Australia. Down 4-1 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, Emma Reinke (St. Thomas, ON) scored two goals for Canada to attempt a late comeback before time ultimately ran out. The team’s record is now 1-2 in group play with one more game to go. 

•    In a battle between two perfect 2-0 teams in women’s wheelchair basketball action, Canada came out on the losing end 59-57 versus Germany. Trailing by 10 with six minutes left in the game, Canada mounted a comeback and took its first lead of the game since scoring the opening bucket at 53-52. The Germans made a few big shots though to stake claim as the only undefeated team in Group A. Canada now sits 2-1 with one game left before the knock-out stage. 

Meanwhile, the Canadian men’s team remains winless through three games, losing another heartbreaker 62-56 to Japan. Canada held the lead for the majority of the contest, but could not maintain it as Japan came on strong in the last five minutes of the game, and outscored the Canadians 24-12 in the final quarter. 

•    In Para rowing, it will be the B finals for both of Canada’s boats following the repechages on Saturday. Only the top two crews advanced to the A final to race for the medals. In the mixed double sculls, Jessye Brockway (Mill Bay, BC) and Jeremy Hall (St. Paul, AB) finished fifth, while the mixed coxed four – Kyle Fredrickson (Duncan, BC), Bayleigh Hooper (Chatsworth, ON), Victoria Nolan (Toronto, ON), Andrew Todd (Dartmouth, NS) and coxswain Laura Court (St. Catharines, ON) – was fourth in their respective repechage.

•    In his first match since the fall of 2019, wheelchair tennis player Rob Shaw (North Bay, ON) put up a fight against No. 3 seed Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain but ultimately dropped a 6-3, 6-3 decision in the quad division’s round of 16. This was Shaw’s Paralympic debut.  

•    In Para equestrian, Canada competed in the team test to music. Canada’s three riders in the event – Winona Hartvikson (Langley, BC) and Onyx, Roberta Sheffield (Lincolnshire, England) and Fairuza, and Lauren Barwick (Aldergrove, BC) and Sandrino – collectively scored a total of 211.699, the top score of the day with many countries having riders still to compete. The trio will now wait to see how the remaining teams finish up on Sunday to discover their final result. 

•    Canada concluded wheelchair fencing competition on Saturday, as Ruth Sylvie Morel (Pincourt, QC) and Matthieu Hébert (Beauharnois, QC) were en garde in the foil competition. Neither advanced into the elimination rounds, with Morel posting a 1-4 record and Hébert going winless in four duels. Canada had four athletes in Tokyo in the sport, its largest wheelchair fencing team at a Paralympic Games yet.  

CLICK HERE for the complete Canadian Paralympic Team results on August 28.  

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