HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
WEEKEND WRAP: Sometimes you win. Sometimes you’re the finalist. Ottawa Curling Club’s Rachel Homan has viewed curling from both those perspectives in the past two weeks at the Grand Slam of Curling.
Three weeks after delivering her second child, Homan led her experienced rink to victory in the Champions Cup on April 19. During the past five days, Homan battled through pool play and playoffs to reach the Players’ Championship final.
But a second consecutive Grand Slam triumph, which would have been her 12th, wasn’t meant to be. Homan didn’t deliver her two, eighth-end stones and conceded victory to Kerri Einarson, who scored an impressive 5-2 victory in Calgary.
After Homan wrecked on a guard in the first end, allowing Einarson to draw for two, she was too heavy with a draw in the second end, which gave the 2021 Canadian women’s and national mixed doubles champion one for a 3-0 lead.
Homan, who averaged almost 86 per cent for her shot making in her first seven matches, struggled in the final. Despite making a triple takeout in the fifth to blank the end, Homan finished the championship game shooting only 68 per cent.
CANADA WITHDRAWS RELAY TEAM
A select group of sprinters from the national capital can appreciate Homan’s high and low feeling. One day, Canada was sending a team to the World Athletics Relay Silesia 2021 in Chorzow, Poland, and the next day they’re staying home.
Athletics Canada announced Saturday it will not send its team to the international meet, which also will be without the powerful American and Jamaican teams, to protect the safety of its high-performance sprinters.
The decision “was made in light of the COVID-19 situation in Poland, across Canada and around the world in addition to the increased risks associated with travelling at this time.”
Canada was hoping to use the high-profile meet to qualify for the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, especially the women’s 4×100-metre relay team, which could be pushed too far down the list by competing countries in Poland.
The regional runners affected are Gatineau’s Farah Jacques of Ottawa Lions and Gatineau’s Audrey Leduc of Club d’athletisme de Gatineau, both women’s 4×100 relay, and Ottawa’s Alicia Brown (unattached), women’s/mixed 4×400 relay.
The Canadian team, which had a pre-event training camp in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were overseen by four coaches, including head coach Glenroy Gilbert and Charles Allen, both of Ottawa.
“We know the decision to withdraw from the World Relays is disappointing for our athletes, but we are committed to working with them to do everything possible to secure our place in Tokyo,” Gilbert said in a press release.
TOKYO QUALIFIER SERIES OPENER MAY BE AFFECTED
Athletics Canada gave an update Monday on its nine-stop, domestic Tokyo Qualifier Series, which starts May 21-22 at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility with the Ottawa HP Weekend.
“At this time, there have been no changes to the Tokyo Qualifier Series,” Athletics Canada said in a press release. “Having said that, Ontario’s stay-at-home order, which runs through May 20, will most likely impact the start of the series.
“Local public health restrictions will dictate participant eligibility for certain events. Athletics Canada continues to work with meet directors to (play host to) these events to give Canadian athletes every opportunity to qualify for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while ensuring their health and safety.”
OTTAWA PLAYERS ON CANADA’S U18 MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM
The world men’s U18 hockey championship starts for Canada on Tuesday in Frisco and Plano, Texas. The Canadian roster includes three players with Ottawa connections. Canada plays Sweden on Tuesday.
Barrie Colts’ Brandt Clarke, a top-10 2021 NHL draft prospect, and the Ottawa 67’s Jack Matier of Sault Ste. Marie will play defence, while assistant captain Mason McTavish of the Peterborough Petes is a forward.
5TH PLACE FOR WOODS AGAINST PLANET’S ELITE CYCLISTS
Racing against the world’s best, Ottawa cyclist Mike Woods placed 5th in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège single-day classic race in the Ardennes on the weekend.
“I wanted to win, and I raced to win,” Woods said in an Israel Start-Up Nation pro cycling team news release. “When you race to win, you can’t be too disappointed. It was a good day. My goal was to race with guts, and I feel like I did, and the team rode really well behind me.”
Tadej Pogacar beat Julian Alaphilippe and David Gaudu in the sprint to the finish to win the 295.5-kilometre race.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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