ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Canada has shrugged off an opening-round loss to two-time Paralympic gold medallists China with three straight wins at the 2023 World Wheelchair Curling Championship.
Skipped by lead Mark Ideson (London, Ont.), Team Canada played a solid game to defeat the United States 6-4 Sunday afternoon, then edged Latvia 7-6 in the evening to improve its record to 3-1. That puts Canada in a tie for second with South Korea and Norway behind China (4-0).
“We continued the high level of play,” said Ideson, backed by fourth Jon Thurston (Dunsford, Ont.), third Ina Forrest (Spallumcheen, B.C.) and second Gil Dash (Wolseley, Sask.). Marie Wright (Moose Jaw, Sask.) is the alternate.
“We’re still figuring out the ice as we go, and the rocks. We’re where we want to be and continue to build as the week goes on.”
After the tough loss to China in the opening draw Saturday afternoon, the Canadians bounced back by cruising to an 8-2 victory over Czechia in just six ends Saturday evening.
The Canadians face Japan and Norway on Monday.
“It’s just about continuing to learn as the week goes on so that we can peak for the playoffs. Just really digging in to learn the ice and rocks and continuing to be consistent with how we throw it,” said Thurston.
In the mixed doubles tournament, Collinda Joseph of Stittsville, Ont. and Dennis Thiessen of Winnipeg defeated Denmark 8-1 and South Korea 9-6 on Saturday to sit second in the nine-team Pool B standings at 2-0 behind Latvia’s 3-0. Pool A has 10 teams.
After taking a 4-2 lead heading into the sixth end, South Korea put up a four score to take the lead heading into the final two ends. But in the seventh, Canada bounced back with three to go back in front 7-6.
“It was crazy. It was a really nice challenge for us this afternoon, and we found a way to caddy each other which was great,” said Joseph.
“(The four) made us a little nervous, but you know we were only down by two after that so when you put that scoreboard in perspective with the four. We came back with the power play, and we played that really, really well and pulled out a three with that, so we were really pleased we were able to bounce back and put a three on the board.”
Canada had Sunday off and plays Italy and Latvia on Monday.
Canadians at 13 medals after first week of Para nordic World Cup final
Mark Arendz started last week lighting the cauldron in the Opening Ceremony at the Canada Games held in his home province of PEI, and ended it with two gold medals and a silver at the Para nordic World Cup Final in Soldier Hollow, Utah.
The four-time Paralympian collected a silver Thursday in the men’s standing five kilometre cross country, then won the first two biathlon events on the weekend: the 12.5 kilometre individual and 7.5 kilometre sprint.
Those are just three of the 13 medals the Canadians have won so far at the competition which ends Wednesday.
Also with three medals so far are Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm, B.C. and Christina Picton of Fonthill, Ont.
Wilkie took gold in the women’s standing 7.5 kilometre on Sunday and bronze medals in cross country in the sprint and five kilometre. Picton is a triple bronze medallist with third place finishes in the women’s sitting sprint and five kilometre cross country and 12.5 kilometre biathlon.
Collin Cameron of Bracebridge, Ont. won Canada’s first gold on Wednesday in the men’s sitting sprint and added a silver the next day in the five kilometre.
Brittany Hudak was second in the standing sprint and 37-year-old Derek Zaplotinsky of Smoky Lake, Alta. skied to his first Para Nordic World Cup podium, winning the bronze medal in the men’s sitting sprint race joining Cameron on the podium.
“It was a super fun day to be able to ski with my teammate Collin in the semifinal and final,” said Zaplotinsky, a two-time Paralympian. “It was a long time coming to get on that podium, but it sure feels good.”
Canada wins 12 medals at Para athletics Grand Prix in Dubai
Visually impaired runner Bianca Borgella of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club won two gold medals to lead a 12-medal Canadian haul at a Para athletics Grand Prix in Dubai last week.
Borgella, a 20-year-old biochemistry and biotechnology at the University of Ottawa, posted victories in the T13 100-m and 400-m. Also with two medals was Zachary Gingras of Markham, Ont., with gold in the T38 400-m and silver in the 100-m, and Austin Smeenk of Oakville, Ont. with bronze in both the T34 100-m and 400-m.
World champion and world record holder Nate Riech of Victoria took gold in the T38 1500m, as did David Johnson of Victoria in the T12 400-m, and Noah Vucsics of Calgary in the long jump.
‘’I tried some different tactics at the Dubai Grand Prix. It felt good to go through the gears and practice shutting the door,” Riech wrote on Twitter.
Thomas Normandeau of Peace River, Alta. added a silver in the T47 400-m.
Other bronze medallists were Charlotte Bolton of Tillsonburg, Ont. in the F41 shotput and Sarah Mickey of Redcliff, Alta. in the F55 discus.