By Martin Cleary
The world junior/U23 sprint canoe-kayak championships are scheduled to start Wednesday morning in Auronzo, Italy, and Canada will indeed have its paddlers on the start line for the heats.
But for a good part of the Canada Day weekend, it looked like the 32 Team Canada canoeists and kayakers might have to live out that time-worn phrase: up the creek without a paddle.
While the national team paddlers safely made it to Auronzo, seven long, colourful bags of paddles were left at the Toronto airport.
Panic buttons sounded in both Italy and Canada as athletes wondered how they would get from the start line to the finish line let alone think about world championship medals.
The group of 32 Canadian athletes includes 11 junior/U23 paddlers from the Rideau Canoe Club.
But after much concern and thinking, the Rideau Canoe Club, Canoe Kayak Canada and Air Canada worked together along with travelling parents and coaches to bring the various paddles into the Alps and allow the young Canadian athletes to experience their worlds.
Auronzo is located about two hours north of Venice and about four hours south of Munich, Germany. On Monday, there was no direct flight to Venice from Toronto. But there was a group of parents and coaches travelling on a late afternoon flight to Munich. They agreed to pick up the paddles and deliver them to the championship site on Tuesday.
Rideau parent Scott Bradley, who has three children representing Canada at the two world championships, took to Twitter and encouraged Air Canada to work with Canoe Kayak Canada to bring the paddles as quickly as possible to Munich.
Air Canada employees in Toronto, Ottawa and Munich banded together with the Canoe Kayak Canada staff to load the wrapped bundles of paddles on board the flight to Munich.
By early Tuesday morning, the paddles reached their first destination.
Here’s the list of Rideau Canoe Club athletes who have breathed a huge sigh of relief and should have a good night’s sleep on Tuesday:
Men’s canoe: Peter Bradley
Women’s kayak: Maren Bradley
Women’s canoe: Evie McDonald
Men’s kayak: Thomas Beauregard & Ryan Naroditsky
Men’s canoe: Stuart Bradley
Women’s kayak: Callie Loch
Women’s canoe: Ruby Muhl, Julia Price, Zoe Wojtyk & Abby Wojtyk
RIDEAU PADDLERS CROWNED CHAMPS ON CANADA DAY
Meanwhile, teamwork was critical for Rideau Canoe Club canoeists Mila Souilliere, Amelia Wojtyk, Janina Winnicki and Yaris Hunter as they won three gold medals each at the Canada Cup East regatta on their home course.
Another five Rideau athletes were double gold medallists at the annual Canada Day weekend competition, which was held Friday and Saturday.
Souilliere earned her first gold in the open women’s IC-4 200 metres with Mackenzie Haines, Tegan Tyrrell and Wojtyk. Competing over 500 metres, Haines, Souilliere, Janina Winnicki and Wojtyk combined for another club win.
In the open women’s C2 500-metre final, Souilliere and Winnicki posted the fastest time, and Wojtyk placed first in the open women’s C1 500 metres.
Hunter captured his three open men’s gold medals in three different boats. He joined Matthew O’Neill, Mark Vucina and Lucas Williams to win the open men’s IC-4 500 metres, he paired with Winnicki for the open mixed C2 500-metre victory and went solo to take the open men’s C1 500 metres.
Nehal Dhillon and Dyllan Redwood-Wheeler finished first in the U18 men’s K2 1,000 metres and linked with Jack Meikle and Henrik Neuspiel to win the K4 race over 500 metres.
In the open men’s K2 class, Cormac Adams and Alexander Hoferek were the 500-metre champions, and Cormac joined Aidan Dumont to earn top honours over 1,000 metres. Hoferek also was the open men’s K1 500-metre winner.
Caroline Anderson, Abbie Haines, Isabel Lowry and Claire Mollard won the U16 women’s IC-4 500 metres and Kate Osborne claimed victory in the U16 women’s K1 500 metres.
MICHAEL WOODS 8TH OVERALL AT TOUR DE FRANCE
Racing in his fourth Tour de France, Ottawa’s Michael Woods is off to his best-ever start in road cycling’s premier stage race.
Woods placed fifth and sixth respectively in the first and second stages, which weaved through Spain.
“I definitely passed the test today,” he said, after Stage 1 on Saturday. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a good position, when (Adam) Yates attacked. I wanted to be in that move and I had the legs for it, but I was too far back. However, I take a lot of confidence from today’s first stage.”
“I’m quite happy with my start to this tour,” Woods added Sunday, following Stage 2. “The legs are good and we are riding great as a team. Obviously, the goal is to get a stage win here so hopefully we can continue the momentum we have now and go for a win next week.”
The first two stages placed Woods seventh overall in the General Classification and he held that spot after placing 35th on Monday (Stage 3). After placing 47th in a massive group finish on Tuesday, he dropped one place in the GC to eighth.
Woods is 22 seconds behind overall leader Adam Yates of Great Britain and UAE Team Emirates. Yates has a total time of 18 hours, 18 minutes, one second.
ISAIAH IBIT TIES FOR 4TH AT ONTARIO MEN’S AMATEUR GOLF
Top-ranked Isaiah Ibit of the Camelot Golf and Country Club will focus on winning his fourth U18 title this week during the 101st Ontario boys’ junior golf championship at The Club at Bond Head.
Ibit will have a lot of ground to make up as he shot an even-par 72 in the opening round and trails leader Matthew Javier of Scarboro Golf and Country Club by six strokes. Javier fired a six-under-par 66.
David Lafreniere of the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club is tied for sixth at two-under 70, while Rowan MacDonald of the Royal Ottawa and Ben Sheridan of the Ottawa Hunt share ninth place at one-under 71.
Earlier this year, Ibit won the Ontario Junior Players’ Invitational, the Ontario Junior Spring Classic and the Next Gen Ontario Championship.
Ibit, who will enter Grade 12 at St. Peter Catholic High School in September, tied for fourth place at last week’s 101st Ontario men’s amateur golf championship in Corbyville, ON.
Ibit shot rounds of 70-72-70-69 for a seven-under-par total of 281. His fourth-round, three-under 69 lifted him four places in the final standings.
Ottawa’s Jeffrey Fang tied for 10th place at 72-72-69-72 for a three-under 285, while Alex Fowke of Ottawa finished at two-under 286 from rounds of 73, 70, 71 and 72.
CAPITAL COURTS GRADS HELP CANADA TO 2 BASKETBALL WINS
A pair of graduates from the Capital Courts Academy basketball program contributed to Canada winning its first two games at the FIBA AmeriCup women’s basketball championship in Leon, Mexico.
Cassandre Prosper, who attends the University of Notre Dame, started both games against Mexico, an 83-57 win, and Puerto Rico, an 84-47 victory, and had a combined 12 points, four rebounds, five steals and three assists.
University of Louisville senior Merissah Russell counted 11 rebounds against Mexico and scored seven points against Puerto Rico.
CANADA WINS 3 VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE MATCHES
The Canadian women’s volleyball team had its best week on the Volleyball Nations League circuit, winning three of four matches and improving to 10th place in the standings at 18 points. Poland leads the 16-country competition with 29 points.
Canada defeated Croatia 25-21, 25-21, 28-26, world #3-ranked Brazil 28-30, 25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 17-15, and The Netherlands 25-27, 25-16, 23-25, 25-23, 15-9. Its only loss was to world #2 Italy in five sets, 22-25, 25-23, 25-14, 24-26, 15-9.
Ottawa’s Shainah Joseph saw floor time in two matches as she was a sub at the opposite position in the third set against Italy and recorded one dig. She also played in the second and third sets as a sub against The Netherlands.
LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST
· Ottawa Rowing Club product Josh King helped the Canadian men’s eight place second to Oxford Brookes University and Leander Club in the Grand Challenge Cup final on the final day at the Henley Royal Regatta.
· Kurtis Barkley of Chesterville and the Cedar Glen Golf Course shot rounds of 72-75 for a three-over-par 147 to finish tied for second during the G4D tour tournament at the Betfred British Masters at Sutton Coldfield, England. Kipp Popert of England won with a pair of two-under 70s.
· Canada Topflight Academy graduate Anki Choudhary has committed to attend the University of West Florida and play for the Argonauts men’s basketball team in the NCAA Division 2 Gulf South Conference.
· Alexandria Ellis of the Barrhaven Scottish and Saracens has been named to Canada’s 30-player roster for the 2023 World Rugby Pacific Four Series game at TD Place against the New Zealand Black Ferns on Saturday.
· Mark Sherboneau of Ride with Rendall p/b Biemme won the men’s B class time trial at the Canadian masters cycling championships in St-Georges, Que., with the fastest time of the day – 24 minutes, 20 seconds – over 18.6 kilometres. Jodi Wendland of The Cyclery was the masters E division winner in the women’s road race at 2:02:48. Ottawa Bicycle Club’s Joe Katz was second in the masters D time trial at 27:32.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 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 High Achievers “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 email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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