Canoe-Kayak Elite Amateur Sport

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Rideau Canoe Club paddlers spark Canada at Olympic Hopes Regatta

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

By Martin Cleary

For the second time in as many major international canoe championships this month, national capital athletes accounted for more than half of Canada’s medal haul.

Three of the six Rideau Canoe Club paddlers participating in last weekend’s Olympic Hopes Regatta in Racice, Czech Republic, either won or were instrumental in seven of Canada’s 13 medals. Rideau’s strong canoeists earned four silver and three bronze medals.

At the world junior and U23 canoe championships on Labour Day weekend in Montemore-O-Velho, Portugal, Cascades Club’s U23 canoeist Sophia Jensen of Chelsea and Rideau junior teammates Toshka Besharah and Ella Hodgson-Pageau brought home six of Canada’s nine-medal output.

In both competitions, Canada ranked high among the international canoeing nations. Canada was fifth overall in the Olympic Hopes Regatta in terms of points, 225, but fourth in total medals at three gold, four silver and six bronze. At the world junior and U23 championships, Canada was fifth on the medal table at 3-2-4-9, and third overall in the U23 medal rankings at 3-2-1-6.

At Olympic Hopes, which is for up-and-coming kayakers and canoeists in the U15 to U17 classes, Rideau canoeists Zoe Wojtyk, U16; Ruby Muhl, U15; and Peter Bradley, U17; were all multiple medallists.

On two occasions during the weekend, Wojtyk would win a medal in one A final and Ruhl immediately would follow in the next race with an A-final medal.

On Saturday, Wojtyk won the silver in the women’s U16 C1 500 metres and a few minutes later Ruhl placed second in the women’s C1 U15 over 500 metres. Wojtyk earned her silver after a photo-finish review for second, third and fourth place.

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On Sunday, Wojtyk picked up her third medal by claiming bronze in her C1 200 metres, and Ruhl went one spot higher in her C1 200-metre final with a silver. Wojtyk also won a bronze medal on Saturday with her third-place finish in the women’s U16 C2 500 metres with Elizabeth Desrosiers-McArthur.

After opening with a seventh-place finish in the men’s C1 U17 1,000 metres, Bradley joined Emile Bouvier for a bronze-medal result in the C2 1,000 metres. They linked with Austin Pigeon and Vikor Hardy on Saturday to give Canada a silver in the C4 500 metres, missing the gold medal by 0.202 seconds.

Janina Winnicki of Rideau qualified for two women’s U17 A finals, placing fifth in the C1 500 metres and teaming with Aja Deeble for an eighth-place showing in the C2 500 metres.

The Canadian team also included Rideau kayakers Callie Loch, women’s U16, and Thomas Beauregard, men’s U16.

Jensen, Rideau kayakers Madeline Schmidt and Natalie Davison and para canoeist Gabriel Ferron-Bouius of Rideau are scheduled to compete in this week’s world senior and para canoe championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Riding Truman, Amy Millar of Perth played a strong role in Canada winning its third BMO Nations Cup at the $600,000 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in Calgary.

Millar, a 2016 Olympian, had two faultless rides in terms of jumping, but exceeded the time limit on both occasions and was assessed a total of three time faults.

The Canadian team of Millar, Erynn Ballard, Tiffany Foster and Eric Lamaze counted only eight faults for their two competitive rounds each to finish on top ahead of the United States, 15, and Canada 2, 16.

In the $2.5-million CP International competition on Sunday, Millar placed 13th with five faults, while riding Truman.


The 2022 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is more than eight months away, but it has already achieved a registration milestone. When race organizers opened their registration last Wednesday for its first block of 5,000 spots for all races, it only took five days to post the Sold Out sign.

“We’re anticipating opening a new block of registration spots in October,” race organizers wrote on social media. The 2020 and 2021 Ottawa Race Weekends were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and replaced with virtual events.


Ottawa Curling Club’s Rachel Homan went undefeated in preliminary play (4-0) to win Pool B at the Alberta Curling Series: Saville Shootout, but Team Homan was shut down in the playoffs.

Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Sarah Wilkes and lead Joanne Courtney fell to Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, AB., 7-6 in the quarterfinals. Homan led 2-0 and 3-2 after the first and third ends respectively, but Scheidegger scored one in the eighth to break a 6-6 deadlock.

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

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

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