QUEBEC CITY – Michael Mercer of St. John’s N.L. scored a big upset in the BC2 category to highlight this past week’s action at the Canadian Boccia Championships in Quebec City.
In dramatic fashion, Mercer posted a five-point score in the last end to defeat Tokyo 2020 Paralympian Danik Allard (Bois-des-Filion, Que.) 5-4 to win the gold medal.
Mercer, a nationally ranked player, was pleased with his win but humbly lifted his hat to his opponent.
“After two long years without boccia it was great to be able to compete again against some of the best players in Canada,’’ he said. ‘’I have come to learn that resilience in sport and in life is everything.
‘’Coming back in the gold medal game to score five points in the last end is a testament to my resilience. Congratulations to Danik for his silver medal and a hard-fought match.”
Perennial champion Hanif Mawji (Burnaby, BC) won gold in the BC1 class, just one of over 20 gold medals he’s captured since his first Canadian championships in Winnipeg in 1993.
Marylou Martineau put on a memorable performance in her hometown, winning a well-deserved silver medal after five wins in this tournament and one loss to veteran Eric Bussière (Verchères, QC) in the BC3 finals.
Iulian Ciobanu of Montreal prevailed in the stacked BC4 class defeating his Tokyo 2020 teammate Marco Dispaltro. Ciobanu changed his style of play during the pandemic and it clearly served him well earlier this summer at the Paralympic Games where he beat world No. 10 Ximei Lin from China only to narrowly miss the playoffs in the individual event.
Leah Gustave of Montreal was another new athlete to take centre stage with gold in the BC5 while Richard Brochu of Montreal went undefeated for gold in the open category.
Team Canada sweeps four-game Para ice hockey series against South Korea
Veteran Billy Bridges of Summerside, PEI and James Dunn of Wallacetown, Ont., each notched a hat trick on Friday evening as Canada defeated South Korea 11-0 to complete a four-game sweep in a tune-up series for the Para ice hockey tournament at the Paralympic Winter Games this coming March in Beijing.
Canada defeated the Koreans 7-0, 6-1 and 7-0 in the other three matches, also all held in Lunenburg, N.S.
In that 11-0 game, Liam Hickey of St. John’s N.L., earned a goal and two assists to reach the 100-point career mark with Team Canada in only 60 games.
“It is really exciting, but I didn’t realize 100 points was coming up that quick,’’ Hickey said. ‘’It is fun to play with such an amazing team, and none of these points are possible without my teammates. It is a really special moment for me and for the whole team.”
Two Paralympians on AthletesCAN Board of Directors
Paralympians Camille Bérubé of Gatineau, Que., and Bo Hedges of Wonowon, B.C., were elected to the AthletesCAN Board of Directors late last week following the organization’s Annual General Meeting.
Bérubé has competed for Canada at the last three Paralympic Games in Para swimming.
‘’Camille hopes to bring an intersectional approach to issues in sport. Her perspective and knowledge as a queer woman living with a disability makes her particularly aware and sensitive to the challenges that the disability and LGBTQI2S+ communities may face,” wrote AthletesCAN about Bérubé. ‘’Thanks to her knowledge of the communications world, Camille values the importance of the proper use of language as a place to start on a path to reducing the negative effects of various interlocking systems of oppression.’’
Hedges is a four-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball and is noted for his leadership skills both on and off the court. He has a Masters in sports management from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of commerce marketing from the University of Northern B.C.