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February Snapshots: A roundup of local sports action

The Ottawa Sportspage’s monthly summary of sports news in the nation’s capital.

By Ottawa Sportspage

Provincial Prizes for Ottawa Grapplers

As men’s 86 kg freestyle quarter-finalist at the Olympic trials, Ismail Ayyoub of the National Capital Wrestling Club defended his Ontario junior title at the Jan. 25 provincials in London. At the Feb. 1-2 cadet/juvenile provincials in Toronto, Pathway’s Sam Griffin (juvenile male 75 kg) and National Capital’s Gabrielle Chartrand (cadet female 80 kg) and Laila Seed-Desai (juvenile female 43 kg) also captured championship crowns, while Tsunami Wrestling Academy’s Gabrielle Gauvin (cadet female 57 kg), National Capital’s Kai Harada (cadet male 60 kg), Ziad Saif El Nasr (juvenile male 55 kg) and Kathryn Robinson (cadet female 43 kg) were all silver medallists, and National Capital’s Samey Al Beajan (juvenile male 75 kg) and Pathway’s Max Roxburgh (juvenile male 71 kg) and Anthony Le Count (juvenile male 125 kg) took bronze.

Senior Women’s and Men’s Foil Teams Stab Tokyo Tickets

Ottawa’s Kelleigh Ryan helped Canada’s senior women’s foil team qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. In a weekend event in Kazan, Russia in late February, Ryan’s team that also included Toronto’s Jessica Zi Jia Guo, Hamilton’s Eleanor Harvey and Calgary’s Alanna Goldie battled not only opponents but also illness and injury to do just enough, finishing 16th overall, which clinched them a spot at the Games. Making their weekend even sweeter was the fact that the members of Canada’s senior men’s foil team were also able to punch their ticket to Tokyo on the same weekend. There are no Ottawa fencers on the men’s side, which is made up of Montrealers Maximilien van Haaster, Alex Cai and Blake Broszus and Richmond, B.C.’s Eli Schenkel.

Flying Figures

Lilly Napier and Joshua Dore from the host Gloucester Skating Club dazzled in the novice pairs division at the Elizabeth Manley Winter Classic on the rink that bears the Calgary ‘88 silver medallist’s name inside the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex – Orléans. With a silver medal in the pre-juvenile women’s (U13) event, Napier enjoyed a double-podium performance at the Feb. 21-23 competition that was part of the Ontario Super Series qualifiers for the Skate Ontario Provincial Championships, set for Mar. 26-29 in Belleville. Local skaters who finished atop their categories in pre-juvenile through senior categories included Nepean’s Katherine Medland Spence, Glen Cairn’s Victoria Gardner, and Reese Rose, Mila Marleau and David Shteyngart – all from host Gloucester.

Feisty Junior Fencers

A pair of junior foil fencers from Ottawa have also achieved success recently. A Canadian team featuring national capital athletes Cynthia Liu and Tinney Mak placed 6th overall at a World Cup event in Zagreb, Croatia as part of a Canadian women’s junior foil team. Aided by their teammates Ting Cao of Toronto and Jane Caulfield of Edmonton, the ladies secured a bye to the event’s table of 16, where they defeated a team from Great Britain by 45-43. They lost to an Italian team 45-32 in the ensuing quarterfinals.

Paddling It Out

Michael Tayler secured his spot at his third consecutive Olympic Games by being Canada’s top paddler at the 2020 Australian Open in February. In the K1 slalom, Ottawa’s Tayler finished 21st, a spot that was strong enough to secure him Olympic selection based on the point-based, best two-out-of-three qualification system of the event. Tayler earned the country’s open spot, which had already been qualified in an open sense due to Team Canada’s showing at the 2019 World Slalom Championships, which were held is La Seu D’Urgell, Spain. Meanwhile, Ottawa’s Lois Betteridge was tied in the overall points standings in the women’s C1 event by Calgery’s Haley Daniels. Daniels finished in 21st, bettering Betteridge by 6 spots. They next qualification event for the two of them will be held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s Olympic whitewater park in early April, where one will likely nab Canada’s entry in the C1 event. Fellow Ottawan Cameron Smedley competed at the same event, placing 30th amongst C1 men.

Little Ninjas

Near the end of last year, TRYumph Gymnastics hosted a qualifier for the Canadian Ninja League national championships. Little ninjas in age groups of 6-9 and 10-12 ran a creative gymnastics-style course to score points and beat a timer of 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Finalists ran a more challenging course. TRYumph’s ninja program is wrapped into its pre-athlete programs designed by the gym’s coaches Paul ApSimon and Alina Florea to build skills to help competitors succeed in a range of athletics. The club plans on holding more ninja-style competitions in the spring and summer.

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