(This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.)
By Mark Colley, Dan Plouffe, Charlie Pinkerton & Adamo Marinelli
All it took was a click for Kai Harada to know what had happened.
In the second round of his gold medal team wrestling duel against British Columbia, Harada’s shoulder dislocated. It popped out two weeks ago and did so again in the biggest moment of his Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
“I hear the other coach screaming, ‘He’s hurt!’ because I think everyone saw I had a pretty big wince on my face,” Harada said. “It was pretty clear my shoulder had shifted.”
But the National Capital Wrestling Club athlete kept fighting, as did Ontario. When his shoulder returned to its proper location and the dust settled, Ontario won the duel — and gold 32-16.
It was only one of two high-octane duels taking place simultaneously in the gym at the Canada Games Park in Thorold, Ont. Just feet away, the Ontario women’s team was also fighting for gold — also against British Columbia.
The Ontario women lost their duel 27-22, settling for silver after an otherwise perfect run through pool play. But the action — parallel gold medal matches, with flags flying and heads swiveling from one mat to the other — was enthralling.
“Duel-style wrestling just makes it so much more team-based,” Harada said. “It’s just way more exciting.”
In addition to identical matchups in the gold medal game, both Ontario teams took nearly-identical pathways to the podium. The women played a win-or-go-home match against Alberta earlier Wednesday, with the winner moving on to the gold medal match. A narrow 25-23 win over Alberta for the men earlier in pool play also brought them to the battle for first place.
On the Ontario women’s team was Lilah Fraser of the Pathway Wrestling Club and Laila Seed-Desai of Carleton Wrestling. Seed-Desai lost her duel in the all-important match against Alberta, during which she “didn’t feel like I was wrestling like myself or sticking to my normal game.”
“I’m not quite happy with how I performed, but I know what I need to work on,” Seed-Desai said.
Meanwhile, Fraser won her duel in the match. She said she was looking forward to the gold medal match, although it ended up not going as planned.
Crazy eights for Julie Brousseau
When Nepean Kanata Barracudas swimmer Julie Brousseau had four medals to her name, she said it was a “bit of a surprise.” She must be in shock this morning.
Brousseau continued her torrid pace of success Wednesday, when she won silver and gold to bump her medal count to eight — four individual and four team medals.
Because there’s no other way to do her accomplishments justice, here’s a full list of her winnings so far:
- Gold in the 200-metre freestyle
- Gold in the 4×100-metre freestyle
- Gold in the 4×200-metre freestyle
- Gold in the 200-metre breaststroke
- Gold in the 400-metre IM
- Silver in the 4×100-metre medley relay
- Bronze in the 4×100-metre mixed medley
- Bronze in the 100-metre freestyle
Not to be outdone, a handful of other Ottawa athletes also came home with medals yesterday. Olivier Risk added to his total with bronze in the 200-metre freestyle, while Grace Lu got a second medal with silver in the 100-metre breaststroke. Meanwhile, bronze in the 50-metre Special Olympics backstroke went to Katie Xu.
Basketball punches ticket to quarterfinals
There are decisive wins. There are blowouts. And then there’s whatever the Ontario women’s basketball team did on Wednesday, when they beat the Yukon by more than 100 points, by a eye-popping score of 120-17.
The decimation — literally — follows two strong wins for Ontario to start the tournament. The team beat PEI 95-47 on Monday, then used a turbo-charged fourth quarter to beat Manitoba 83-55 on Tuesday.
Yesterday’s win, though, was in another stratosphere. While the result was somewhat expected — the Yukon had been outscored 245-45 in its first two games — Capital Courts Academy’s Achol Akot said Ontario used the game to practice what it wants to do in the quarterfinals, semifinals and final, if the team gets that far.
“We just look to the future and we know there’s big games coming up,” Akot said, explaining how the team motivated itself after being up 75-5 at the half. “This game is gonna prepare us for that.”
The win, in the qualification round, advances Ontario to the quarterfinals. They’ll face British Columbia today at 8:30 a.m. at the Meridian Centre.
‘Our redemption game’: Thompson itching for Alberta rematch
Team Ontario may have reached the women’s box lacrosse quarterfinals by the skin of their teeth, but if Wednesday’s game is any indication, they won’t go down without a fight.
After a three-way tie atop the Pool A standings broke Ontario’s way, the team blew out Saskatchewan 11-0 yesterday in their first playoff game to become one of four teams vying for the first Canada Games gold medal ever awarded in women’s box lacrosse.
Manotick’s Tristan Thompson said it’s “exhilarating” to get this far.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “The whole team is very excited. That was a great game.”
Ontario will play Nova Scotia in the semifinals after the Maritime province’s 4-2 win over Manitoba in their quarterfinal game. Ontario has already faced Nova Scotia once, winning 10-2.
“They’re gonna come back with a punch,” Thompson said. “We know that they’re hungry for a win, so we have to be ready.”
Now two wins away from gold and one win away from ensuring a podium finish, Thompson is itching for a rematch against Alberta in the finals. Ontario lost 4-2 to Alberta on Tuesday, its only loss of the Games so far.
“Alberta is our rival at this point,” Thompson said. “[We want] our redemption game.”
More medals for Ottawa athletes
Ottawa’s Rachel Callum and the Ontario women’s rugby sevens team won bronze with a 20-15 win over Nova Scotia, avenging the first loss of the Games by landing on the podium.
Nova Scotia beat Ontario 19-0 in the first game of pool play before Ontario rattled off three consecutive wins to book a trip to the third place game.
Xander Woodford earned silver with Team Ontario in the mountain bike relay at Twelve Mile Creek, finishing with a group time of 36:12 — 25 seconds behind first-place Quebec but a full minute and a half ahead of third-place Nova Scotia.
In tennis, Ontario lost its tie against Quebec 4-2. Ray Xie lost his singles match two sets to one and Anna-Raphaëlle Serghi defaulted her doubles match. With a record of 1-2 at the Games, Ontario will face Nova Scotia in the quarterfinals today at 10 a.m. at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Tennis Club.
The day ahead
Basketball, box lacrosse and tennis all have playoff games today as they continue their march towards another podium for Team Ontario. You can follow all the action today via live stream at niagara2022games.ca/watch.
(This article was first sent to subscribers of the free Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign us to receive it below!)
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