Santiago 2023 Day 6 Recap: Anthony Bouchard claims gold in wheelchair racing as Canada wins five medals

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 24, 2023

Wheelchair rugby team takes silver; Para cyclists win silver, bronze on the track

Anthony Bouchard in his racing chair waving the Canadian flag behind him

SANTIAGO – The Canadian national anthem has now been heard five times at the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games, as Anthony Bouchard claimed gold in wheelchair racing on Thursday with Canada increasing its podium total to 29. Medals were won in Para athletics, Para cycling, wheelchair rugby, and Para swimming, while Canada also advanced into gold medal games in women’s wheelchair basketball, women’s goalball, and quad wheelchair tennis.


GOLD – Anthony Bouchard, Para Athletics, Men’s T52 100m
SILVER – Mel Pemble, Para Cycling (Track), Women’s C1-5 Individual Time Trial
SILVER – Wheelchair Rugby Team
BRONZE – Alexandre Hayward, Para Cycling (Track), Men’s C1-5 Individual Time Trial
BRONZE – Jagdev Gill, Para Swimming, Men’s S10 100m Freestyle


GOLD – 5
TOTAL – 29


Para Athletics
Anthony Bouchard scored Canada’s first Para athletics gold medal, finishing first in the men’s T52 100m. The wheelchair racer sprinted to the finish in 17.67 seconds.

“I had a good start, and I was able to push the whole race; it was almost a perfect race,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Bouchard, at his first multi-sport Games, adds the gold to a bronze won in the 400m earlier in the week.

“It took the pressure off, because when I came here, I was more confident of winning a medal in the 100m race than the 400m,” Bouchard said. “So having already won a medal, I competed more for the fun of it, and it paid off.”

In other results: Natalie Thirsk was fourth in the women’s T38 100m, Billy Bridges fourth in the men’s F55 javelin, Charlotte Bolton fifth in the women’s F40/41 shot put, David Bambrick fifth in the men’s F35/36/37 shot put, and Isaiah Christophe sixth in the men’s T54 400m.

Wheelchair Rugby
Canada is coming home with a silver medal in the wheelchair rugby tournament following a tough 57-51 loss to the Americans in the final. The team fell behind early and while it was a close battle throughout, the Canadians could not close that gap. Zak Madell led the way for Canada with 36 tries.

Also silver medallists four years ago, this was Canada’s only loss the entire tournament – they had bested the Americans earlier in the group stage – and means the team will now have to play a last-chance qualifier in New Zealand in March for a place in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

“It wasn’t the game we expected to play,” said team co-captain Patrice Dagenais. “We have to give credit to the Americans, who played a really solid game. On our end we just weren’t able to create a lot of turnovers today, and on the opposite end we had a few unforced turnovers that put us back in the game and we had a hard time coming back. We can learn from this game, and we’ll come back.”

“We’re all disappointed, we wanted to win a gold medal for our country, we wanted to qualify for Paris,” he added. “That is not the case, but at the same time we have another chance to qualify. I’m sure we’ll take a break, we all deserve some time off from training and doing something else from rugby, and then we’ll get back together and start the grind for Paris.”  

Para Cycling – Track
Mel Pemble captured a silver medal in the women’s C1-5 500m individual time trial, finishing second with a time of 37.565 seconds.

“I feel really amazing, mainly for the personal best, but of course the medal is a bonus,” said Pemble, in her first multi-sport Games as a cyclist. She previously competed at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Para alpine skiing.

“I knew my times and how it reflected on the competitors here,” Pemble said on her medal expectations heading into the race. “But of course there’s always the chance of new people. So I knew it was in my realm, and it could happen. But on race day anything can happen, it’s never a guarantee.”

Keely Shaw was seventh in the same event, with a time of 40.179.

In the men’s C1-5 1000m individual time trial, Alexandre Hayward captured his second podium of the Games, adding a bronze to his gold from the road time trial.

“I came here with no expectations, this is far from my event,” said Hayward, who posted a time of 1:06.566. “I think I’ve done one other kilo in my life which was at nationals this year, and I was five seconds slower. I came here looking for a personal best and I achieved that, and it just happened to be enough to get on the podium.”

Teammate Mike Sametz, a bronze medallist earlier this week, was fifth in 1:08.707.

Para Swimming
Jagdev Gill won his first Parapan Am medal on Thursday, capturing bronze in the men’s 100m freestyle S10 with a time of 56.90. Teammate Fernando Lu, already a two-time medallist here in Santiago, was fourth in 57.18.

“It feels really good,” said 18-year-old Gill, at his first major Games. “I’ve been trying to get on the podium the whole week and I finally got it in my last individual event.”

“I really wanted to get up on the podium, and I’m happy with my race.”

Other results at the pool saw Caleb Arndt fifth and Hunter Helberg sixth in the men’s 400m freestyle S13 final, Alisson Gobeil sixth in the women’s 200m freestyle S5, and Felix Cowan eighth in the men’s 100m backstroke S9.

Wheelchair Tennis
Defending champion Rob Shaw is back in the Parapan Am Games quad singles final after a two hour and 18-minute duel under the hot Santiago sun on Thursday. He ousted Brazilian Ymanitu Silva 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in closely fought semifinal, and will now face Chilean Francisco Cayulef for the gold medal.

“I honestly didn’t know if I’d be able to compete in this tournament or not,” said Shaw, who is dealing with end-of-season injuries. “So to be in the finals is pretty surreal and shows that my game has increased a lot, that I can play under these circumstances and can still go pretty deep in these tournaments.”

Wheelchair Basketball
The Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team is heading for the gold medal game following a dominant 76-36 victory over Argentina. Arinn Young has 29 points and 11 rebounds to lead Canada, with three more players hitting double-digit scoring – Cindy Ouellet (18), Rosalie Lalonde (10), and Elodie Tessier (10).

“We have been playing really well,” said Young. “This is the first time we’ve been together since pretty much the world championships last summer, so it’s been a ton of fun, just getting to see the girls again. We’re playing some really good basketball together and we’re just trying to ride that wave as long as we can.”

Canada will now face the United States for gold and a spot in the Paralympic Games. Four years ago, Canada took the title, while at this summer’s world championships, Canada was finish fifth to USA’s third.

“The rivalry itself is something to look forward to,” said Young. “USA has incredibly gifted and talented athletes, they can shoot from inside, outside. So it’s going to be a lot of fun, and a really big challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Canada’s women’s goalball team has achieved its best-ever Parapan Am result, with much more left to play for, after defeating Brazil 4-2 in the semifinals. Against the defending champions, Canada came out strong with its defence-first mentality. Goal scorers were Emma Reinke (3) and Amy Burk (1).

“This is amazing, it’s a surreal moment,” said Burk. “We’ve never been to play for a Parapan Am gold medal and we’re just taking it one step at a time. Brazil is a really amazing team, and we knew to beat them we were going to have bring our A game, and we executed it right from the hop.”

The Canadians, bronze medallists at the last three Parapan Am Games, will now take on the United States for the gold – with the winner punching a ticket to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Canada’s only loss this week so far came to the U.S. in its opening game of the tournament, and the team will look to turn that result around.

“It feels so good. This is what we’ve been working up to all week,” said Reinke. “We started out a bit rocky, and we’ve just kept building all week and tomorrow is our magnum opus.”

On the men’s side, an upset win over the U.S. in the semifinals would have secured Canada a berth in next summer’s Paralympic Games, but it was not to be on this day. The squad dropped an 11-4 decision and will now play for bronze against Argentina. Canada was bronze medallists at the 2019 Parapan Am Games.

Alison Levine and Iulian Ciobanu posted a 9-0 victory over Argentina to open pairs play for Canada in boccia. The BC4 duo have one preliminary match remaining before the semifinals on Saturday. In BC3 pairs, Canada is represented by Joelle Guerette and Ryan Rondeau, who lost their opener 4-2 to Colombia.

Para Badminton
In Para badminton, preliminary play continued with four Canadians picking up victories.

William Roussy won to finish 2-0 in his group in men’s singles SL3 and will now receive a bye into the semifinals. Yuka Chokyu is also through to the semifinals after closing out women’s singles WH1 group play with a 3-0 record.

In the men’s singles SH6 tournament, both Wyatt Lightfoot and Justin Kendrick posted wins to close out the group stage. Lightfoot, with a 2-1 record, moves into the quarterfinals while 1-2 Kendrick will not.

In other action, Colleen Cloetta lost in women’s singles SH6 play as did Bernard Lapointe in men’s singles WH2. They both still have one match to go before the elimination round. Two teams also picked up defeats – Cloetta and Kendrick in mixed doubles SH6 and Lapointe and Mikahil Bilenky in men’s doubles WH1-WH2.

CP Football
Canada’s CP Football team concluded preliminary play on Thursday with a 6-0 loss to the United States, finishing with a 0-5 record. The squad will now turn its attention to the fifth-place classification game, set for Saturday.

CLICK HERE for the complete results on Thursday November 23. 

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