Combat Sports Community Clubs Skiing Soccer Wrestling

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Takahashi family takes Mayor’s Cup as Ottawa Sports Awards announce Lifetime Achievement honourees

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-at-Home Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

Twenty Ottawa and area swimmers are on the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic radar, 16 have received trials’ invites and seven are eyeing the 2021 Tokyo Games.

The modified Canadian Olympic and Paralympic swimming trials are slated for April 7-11 in Toronto, after a three-day, pre-meet training period. There will be a maximum of 20 swimmers in each event.

Strictly following all COVID-19 safety protocols, including physical distancing, all races will be timed finals as each event will have two 10-swimmer competitions. There will be no spectators.

Swimming Canada recently issued its initial list ranking the top 30 athletes in each Olympic event based on long-course race results from Sept. 1, 2018 to Dec. 6, 2020. Trial invitations were sent to the top 20.

The deadline for first-round acceptances was Friday, Jan. 15, and, depending on what races the swimmers select, more invitations could be extended in the second round, beginning Jan. 20.

Eli Wall. File photo

Montana Champagne and Regan Rathwell, both of the Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club, Eli Wall of Toronto Swim Club, Ottawa’s Alexandre Perreault, Smiths Falls’ Bailey Andison of Perth Stingrays Aquatic Club, and Pembroke’s Alyson Ackman of Pointe-Claire S.C. will press for an Olympic berth.

Two-time Paralympian Camille Berube of Natation Gatineau is the only National Capital Region swimmer in the Paralympic swim trials, which will have 44 world-ranked qualifiers.


~~~~~~~~~ Advertisement ~~~~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~ Advertisement ~~~~~~~~~

Champagne has achieved the FINA B Olympic qualifying time standard in the 400-metre IM (4:21.40) and 200m butterfly (1:59.21), where he’s ranked No. 2 in Canada for both races and is No. 4 in the 200m IM (2:02.09).

“He has had a really good year so far,” said his former University of Ottawa coach Dave Heinbuch. “He’s on the outside a little bit, but we’re hopeful.”

He’s about 2.5 to 3 seconds off FINA A standard in his 200m races.

Wall, a Toronto Titans International Swimming League team member, is No. 2 in Canada in 200m breaststroke (2:12.80) and No. 3 in 100m breaststroke (1:01.70), which are both FINA B standards.

Perreault, who represented Canada at the 2018 world short-course championships and 2019 Universiade, has the B standard in the 100m butterfly (53.47) and is ranked No. 3 nationally.

Andison, who posted good short-course results inside the International Swimming League bubble, is No. 3 and No. 5 respectively in the 200m IM (2:11.33, A standard) and 400m IM (4:45.20, B).

Ackman, a triple medallist at the 2019 Lima Pan-Am Games, has national top-10 rankings in six freestyle races, including five FINA B standards. She’s one to three seconds off the A standard over 100m, 200m and 400m.

Rathwell, who has committed to the University of Tennessee for 2022 and raced the 200m backstroke A final at the 2019 Canadian world championships trials, is ranked No. 5 in 200m back (2:12.39, B), and No. 9 in 100m back (1:01.16, B).

Berube, who competed at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, is ranked No. 6 in the world in the SM7 class 200m IM. She also will race in S7 backstroke and S6 breaststroke races at the trials.

University of Ottawa Gee-Gees’ Lauren Shearer (200m breaststroke), William Barrett (200m breaststroke), Louis Bertrand (400m freestyle) and Conor Smythe (200m backstroke) will be looking to crack the top 8 at trials.

The top-20 rankings also include five swimmers from the Nepean-Kanata Barracudas Swim Club: Madison Archer, 800m/1,500m freestyle; Mia Zahab, 200m butterfly/400m IM; Megan Wheeler, 200m backstroke; David Quirie, 200m/800m/1,500m freestyle; and Colton Milne, 200m breaststroke.

Hoping for a top-20 promotion after qualified swimmers make their choices are: Gee-Gees’ Adelle Yamashita-Ball, 800m freestyle, and Jamie Demers, men’s 100m breaststroke; Barracudas’ Breckin Gormley, 100m butterfly; and Swim Ottawa’s Gabriel Tejada, 100m butterfly.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.

Al, Phil, Ray & Tina Takahashi. File photo

By Martin Cleary

The 68th Ottawa Sports Awards has a new look, but organizers hope it’s short-lived. The presence of COVID-19 has meant no dinner, no individual and team awards for the 2021 banquet.

But organizers of Canada’s most comprehensive and inclusive amateur sports awards event have named the Mayor’s Cup and three Lifetime Achievement Award winners for 2020. And there’s a big family theme this time.

The Mayor’s Cup for outstanding contribution to sport in Ottawa, which was first presented in 2004, goes to the Takahashi family for their leadership, dedication and performance in combat sports.

Retired FIFA soccer referee Carol Anne Chenard earned the Lifetime Award for technical official. That’s the same award won in 2010 by her mother Sandra, who was a top international speed skating official.

The Ottawa Sports Awards also announced Wednesday Lifetime Awards for figure skating’s Eric Loucks, coaching, and Dean Sherratt, volunteer/administrator. Organizers hope to present the four awards at an in-person ceremony, when gatherings are allowed in 2021.

Masao and June Takahashi founded Takahashi Dojo in 1969 as a way to teach and compete in judo, and promote Japanese culture in Ottawa. Masao, an eighth degree black belt, died earlier this year.

Masao was a judo official at the 1976 Summer Olympics and son, Ray, shared the Games with him as a wrestler. Ray, a 16x national champion, was named to three Olympic teams and placed fourth in 1984.

Phil, who also passed away earlier this year, represented Canada in judo at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. Tina was Canada’s first women’s Olympic judo coach for the 1988 Games.

June, who also worked at Judo Canada, had an Olympic connection as well, coaching Cameroon’s Francoise Nguele in 2000. In his career, Allyn won multiple provincial, regional and American judo medals.

After an athletic career as a national-team, short-track speed skater, Carol Anne Chenard turned to soccer officiating and became one of only four Canadians to be a FIFA referee for 15 or more years.

She officiated at the 2011 and 2015 FIFA women’s World Cup and earned the assignment in 2019, but was forced to step back and eventually retire, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Chenard also was a referee at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Her level of officiating earned her a berth on the officiating crew for the 2016 Olympic women’s soccer gold-medal final.

Chenard, who refereed three FIFA U20 Women’s World Cups and two in the U17 division, also presided over games in the FIFA U17 Men’s World Cup and the 2019 Premier League, which was its inaugural season.

“Carol Anne Chenard has long been at the pinnacle of international refereeing, breaking barriers over an impressive career that placed her as an inspiration for aspiring referees,” Canada Soccer president Steven Reed said recently.

In 2021, Eric Loucks will enter his 50th year coaching at the Minto Skating Club. He has coached singles and ice dance skaters at all levels from sectionals to the Olympics and world championships.

Loucks was part of Canada’s 1998 Winter Olympic Games team, when he coached Chantal Lefebvre and Michel Brunet, who also went to four senior world championships and won four Canadian championship silver medals.

Off the ice, Loucks become only the second skating coach in Ontario and third in Canada to achieve Level 5 NCCP certification in 2010. He specializes in freeskate and ice dance.

As president of the National Capital Wrestling Club, Dean Sherratt worked hard to provide athletes and coaches with facility space, equipment and a variety of developmental programs.

Sherratt also has worked with school board officials, and high school coaches/teachers to promote and grow wrestling as well as establish pathways leading to provincial and national success.

“More than 600 wrestlers have benefitted from his programs to distribute low-cost equipment, providing many youth an opportunity to stay in the sport,” the Ottawa Sports Awards press release said.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


This story was made possible thanks to our advertising partners. We encourage you to support these groups who are dedicated to grassroots sport in our community!

Leave a Reply