OTTAWA – Alison Levine of Montreal showed she’s back in top form earning Canada’s best result in individual play with a fourth-place finish in the women’s BC4 tournament at the World Boccia Championships in Rio de Janeiro.
After being eliminated in the preliminaries at the Paralympic Games last summer in Tokyo, Levine wanted to reclaim her position on the international ladder. The former world number one won her pool, then earned a victory in the quarterfinals.
Two matches decided by a single point left her off the podium. She lost to world number two and eventual gold medallist Michaela Balcova of Slovakia 5-4 in the semifinals. In the bronze medal match, she was edged 4-3 by Yuen Cheung of Hong Kong.
“Alison passed through the round robin and quarterfinals with flying colours,” said Canada’s head coach César Nicolai in a Boccia Canada release. “In the semifinals and bronze medal match she was against two excellent athletes. We witnessed some great boccia.”
Five other Canadians advanced to the round of 16 before elimination: for the women, Krystin Collins of St. John’s N.L. in BC2 and Joelle Guerette of Longueuil, Que. in BC3. For the men, Lance Cryderman of Sudbury, Ont. in BC1, Danik Allard of Bois-des-Filion, Que. in BC2 and Marco Dispaltro of St-Jerome, Que. in BC 4.
Lois Martin of St. John’s in women’s BC1 and Iulian Ciobanu in men’s BC4 did not advance past the preliminaries.
The pairs and team events conclude the boccia worlds this week.
Canadian women undefeated at goalball world championships
The Canadian women’s goalball team is a perfect 4-0 and atop Pool A at the world championships currently being held in Matosinhos, Portugal. The latest win was 12-7 over Turkey, their closest pursuers in Pool A.
The other victories for Canada were 6-4 over Argentina, 12-2 vs France and 11-1 against Mexico. It’s a great start for Canada after a self-described subpar performance at the Paralympic Games last summer in Tokyo. The Canadians were fourth at the last worlds in 2018.
Canada is on track for its first worlds medal since winning gold in 2006.
On the men’s side, Canada is still looking for its first win. They opened with a 6-6 draw against Belgium, then lost to Germany, Portugal, and Brazil.
The preliminary round continues Monday with the top-four in each pool advancing to the quarterfinals. The tournament ends on Sunday.
Canadian Para nordic skiers open World Cup season with seven medals… so far
Only two events have been held so far at the 10-day season opening Para nordic World Cup in Vuokatti, Finland and the Canadians have already pocketed seven medals.
Collin Cameron of Bracebridge, Ont. took the gold medal on Sunday in the men’s sitting 0.8 kilometre sprint cross country race. The six-time Paralympic Games medallist won the six-man final by over seven seconds.
“I’m really happy with how the day went,” Cameron told Nordiq Canada. “It’s a very different course than usual, so it was a great opportunity to play with some different race tactics and try and transfer a lot of the work from the summer.”
It was the 34-year-old’s second medal. He also took silver in the five kilometre event.
Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm, B.C. and Christina Picton of Fonthill, Ont. are also double medallists. For Picton they are her first two career World Cup medals. She took silver in the women’s sitting five kilometre and sprint while Wilkie did the same in women’s standing.
“Sprint day is always a blast,’’ said Picton, a 29-year-old Paralympian. ‘’The fast-paced action is honestly my favourite of all the race distances. I was really pleased with how I skied in the final after making some adjustments from the qualifier.”
“(Sunday) was all about skiing smart and I feel that I played some good cards,’’ added Wilkie, a seven-time Paralympic medallist, about her sprint. “I was able to keep myself in good position throughout the heats. The biggest factor was my coaches and team keeping me on track.”
In that women’s sitting five kilometre, Lyne-Marie Bilodeau of Sherbrooke, Que. added a bronze for her first career World Cup medal as well.
‘’I can’t describe how I feel right now,’’ Bilodeau told Sportcom. ‘’I pushed hard to get here. I didn’t have any expectations for this race but I couldn’t be happier especially that I joined Christina on the podium.”
Alexis Guimond wins Canada’s first Para alpine skiing medal of the season
Alexis Guimond of Gatineau, Que. won the bronze medal in the men’s giant standing slalom to highlight Canadian performances this past week at the season opening Para alpine skiing World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Guimond, a two-time Paralympic Games medallist, ranked fourth and fifth in his two runs but his combined time of 2:07.52 put him in third spot. He was 0.01 seconds ahead of fourth place finisher Oscar Burnham of France and 0.53 seconds from silver medallist Federico Pelizzari of Italy. Arthur Bauchet of France won the gold.
‘’I’m happy to have a good result in St. Moritz,” said Guimond. ‘’I wanted to put my lack of success here behind me.”
Frédérique Turgeon of Candiac, Que. was also satisfied with her weekend posting fourth place finishes in two of the three slalom races. It was her first competition since her injury in the training runs at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Turgeon was forced to miss the Games due to a knee injury.
St. Moritz had also been giving Turgeon fits in the past.
‘’I had never even completed a run in St. Moritz before this weekend so it can only get better from here,” said Turgeon. ‘’I was anxious to get back to competition after my injury in Beijing.”
Kurt Oatway of Calgary, who also missed the 2022 Games due to injury, was fifth in the men’s sitting giant slalom.
With files from Nordiq Canada, Boccia Canada and Sportcom