SANTIAGO – A gold medal from Iulian Ciobanu and Alison Levine in boccia highlighted a seven-medal day for Canada at the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games on Saturday.
Additional podiums were achieved in boccia, Para badminton, wheelchair basketball, and Para athletics as the Games heads into its final day.
Only two sports will be in action to close out Santiago 2023 on Sunday – Para road cycling and Para badminton.
MEDALS WON ON NOVEMBER 25
GOLD – Iulian Ciobanu/Alison Levine, Boccia, BC4 Pairs
SILVER – Danik Allard/Kristyn Collins/Lance Cryderman, Boccia, BC1-2 Team
BRONZE – Olivia Meier, Para Badminton, Women’s Singles SL4
BRONZE – Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team
BRONZE – Tianna Rissling, Para Athletics, Women’s T36/37/38 Long Jump
BRONZE – Sheriauna Haase, Para Athletics, Women’s T57 100m
BRONZE – Charlotte Bolton, Para Athletics, Women’s F41 Discus
OVERALL MEDAL TOTAL
GOLD – 9
SILVER – 13
BRONZE – 25
TOTAL – 47
Canada will still have the chance to play for a place in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games following a critical 70-62 victory over Argentina for bronze. Needing a win for a spot in the last-chance Paralympic qualifier, both teams came out strong. Down 28-27 at the half, it was a tight game before Canada ultimately took the lead at 51-50 and held on for the podium position.
Pat Anderson was Canada’s leader with 22 points and 14 rebounds, with Colin Higgins adding 21 points, Garrett Ostepchuk 14, and Vincent Dallaire 10.
“There was a lot on the line with that game,” said Higgins. “So for us to get another gutsy W against Argentina is really big for everybody.”
“We’ve always had tough, close games against Argentina. We know what to expect a bit, but it’s really tough and anytime we can beat them, it’s a great thing.”
Canada will now participate in a final Paralympic qualification tournament in France in April.
“I definitely wasn’t ready to be done with this group and this team,” said Anderson. “It means a lot to me to keep moving towards Paris, to try to get better, to try to go from good to great. We’re not there yet but I still think we can get there. I believe in these guys, and this program.”
Canada took home three bronze medals in Para athletics courtesy of Tianna Rissling, Sheriauna Haase, and Charlotte Bolton.
Haase claimed her second bronze of the meet, finishing third in the women’s T47 100m with a time of 12.56 seconds. The 17-year-old also stood atop the podium in the 200 metres.
“I feel so good, and so proud of myself,” Haase said of coming home with two medals. “I honestly didn’t come here thinking I would win anything. I did come here thinking I was going to do a really good job, and I was very confident in myself but now that I have [won medals], it just feels so good. It doesn’t even matter what medal or what colour, it just feels good, and I feel really proud of myself.”
Bolton captured bronze in the women’s F41 discus. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympian, making her Parapan Am debut this week, threw 24.97 metres.
“I feel relieved, but I’m really happy with myself,” said Bolton, who was fifth in shot put earlier in the week. “Mostly the prep coming into this event, I was probably the most prepared I’ve ever been. The nerves still get to you, so the first event was out of the way and the second was easier.”
Rissling, also at her first Parapan Am Games, took third in the women’s T36/37/38 long jump with a distance of 4.17 metres. Rounding out the results for Canada on Saturday, Alister McQueen was sixth in the men’s F57 javelin.
Alison Levine and Iulian Ciobanu are BC4 pairs champions, after defeating Colombia’s Leidy Chica Chica and Edilson Chica Chica in a match that was decided by mere millimetres. Even at 3-3 after four ends, the intense nailbiter of a game went into a tiebreaker and was decided on the very last shot.
“We feel really happy, and accomplished,” said Ciobanu.
“This is a big family at the Parapan Am Games with all the other sports together. It’s a long journey, and it’s great to see other players winning medals, so we’ve done our part too.”
This is both athletes’ second podium of the Games, with Levine also winning gold in the women’s BC4 individual tournament and Ciobanu bronze in the men’s BC4 individual event. Ciobanu and Levine now secure the year-end No. 1 ranking, as well as a quota spot for Canada in the BC4 pairs event for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
“It’s a testament to our constant success,” said Levine. “In boccia it’s important to perform well consistently, and that’s what we did. Minus one competition in Brazil where we didn’t end up on the podium, we’re always pretty much there and proving again and again that we’re one of the best in the world.”
The BC1-2 team of Lance Cryderman, Danik Allard, and Kristyn Collins claimed silver, falling to Brazil 8-2 in the gold-medal game. This was Canada’s first podium in the BC1-2 team event at a Parapan Am Games. For Cryderman and Allard, it is a second silver in Santiago, while for Collins it is her first career Games medal.
Both the BC4 pairs and BC1-2 team had earlier in the day advanced into the finals via semifinal victories in the morning over Mexico and Chile.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympian Olivia Meier defeated Jenny Ventocilla of Peru in the women’s singles SL4 bronze medal game, winning 21-13, 21-18 for Canada’s first Para badminton podium at these Games.
“It was really good match. I knew my opponent pretty well; we’ve played each other plenty of times and have been partners on the court in doubles,” said Meier. “I’m feeling good, I got a good pace going early and just tried to keep it going.”
“I love this sport, I love playing for Canada, it’s just a great feeling, being here with all my teammates.”
Falling in bronze medal matches were Pascal Lapointe in the men’s singles SL4, and Bernard Lapointe and Mikhail Bilenky in the men’s doubles WH1-WH2.
Four players advanced into Sunday’s medal matches. William Roussy won in straight sets (21-8, 21-17) over Brazilian Jonathan Cardoso in the men’s singles SL3 semifinals to earn the right to play for gold.
“I worked very hard before the Games to get to the point where I am now,” said Roussy. “I’m really happy with my game here, especially the precision of my shots. I have a medal now, but I want it to be gold.”
In women’s singles WH1 action, Yuka Chokyu fell in the semifinals and will now play for bronze, as will Bilenky in men’s singles WH1 and Bernard Lapointe in men’s singles WH2.
Canada finishes sixth in the CP Football tournament after dropping a 2-1 decision to Chile in the fifth-place classification match. Canada’s star, Samuel Charron, was its goal scorer. Earlier this week, the 25-year-old became the first Canadian to score 50 international goals in CP Football, also known as Para soccer or 7-a-side.
“You always dream of these tournaments and representing your country, that’s what you want to play for,” said Charron. “Chile has been a great host, and the experience has been amazing. Obviously, the games haven’t gone our way, but we want to keep playing and we want to keep going. We’ll be back and we’ll be back stronger.”
CLICK HERE for the complete results on Saturday November 25.
LOOKING AHEAD TO DAY 9, SUNDAY NOVEMBER 26
Para Cycling – Road
Canada’s Para cyclists have won 10 medals this week in Santiago, including four gold, and will hope to conclude the Games with more hardware. All seven racers will be on the road Sunday morning for their respective road races.
Charles Moreau will be up first in the men’s H3-5 road race starting at 8:02 a.m. local / 6:02 a.m. ET, with the mixed T1-2 starting a few minutes later featuring Nathan Clement and Shelley Gautier.
Keely Shaw will then depart from the start line in the women’s C4-5 road race at 11:45 a.m. followed closely by Alexandre Hayward and Mike Sametz in the men’s C1-3 category, and Mel Pemble in the women’s C1-3 event.
Canada is playing for four medals in Para badminton, highlighted by William Roussy in the men’s singles SL3 category gold medal match.
Roussy, in his second Parapan Am Games at only age 20, will take on Peruvian Pedro De Vinatea Estrada for the title at 9 a.m. local / 7 a.m. ET. It will be his first multi-sport Games medal.
Three more will be duelling for bronze medals: Yuka Chokyu will be facing off against Amy Burnett of USA in the women’s singles WH1 bronze medal match at 9 a.m. Scheduled for third on the same court, Mikhail Bilenky will be going for the podium in men’s singles WH1 versus Colombian Victor Eduardo Aragon Dominguez. He will be followed by Bernard Lapointe in the men’s singles WH2 third-place final against Brazil’s Jose Ambrosio Chaves.
The complete schedule for November 26 can be found on the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am website HERE.