Athletics Baseball Basketball Canoe-Kayak Community Clubs Cycling Elite Amateur Sport Equestrian Golf Para Sport Rowing Volleyball

HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: Wojtyk sisters golden on water, Michael Woods grasps coveted Tour stage win, Bianca Borgella sprints to bronze

By Martin Cleary

You may want to put on some music to accompany the top portion of this story. May I suggest the 1977 release We are the Champions by the British rock band Queen.

It was that kind of weekend for Ottawa athletes, who either won gold on the water, captured a segment of a major cycling stage race with perfect timing or came within fractions of a second of being the best sprinter on the globe.

Rideau Canoe Club canoeists and sisters Zoe and Abby Wojtyk were scheduled to return home Monday as world champions from the world junior/U23 canoe/kayak championships in Auronzo di Cadore, Italy with gold medals from two different junior finals.

Meanwhile, Michael Woods powered to an historic ride in Stage 9 of the Tour de France for his first-ever victory in that premier event, his third in a Grand Tour event and his 14th win as a pro. He also became the third Canadian to win an individual stage race at the Tour de France.

At the world para athletics championships on Monday in Paris, Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club’s Bianca Borgella earned Canada’s second medal by taking the bronze in the women’s T13-class 100 metres in 12.16 seconds.

Canada won six medals (two gold, one silver and three bronze) at the world junior/U23 paddling championships and placed ninth overall. All six medals came from junior athletes, who lifted Canada into fifth in the younger-class standings. Four female canoeists from Rideau were directly responsible for or part of five of Canada’s medals.

Zoe Wojtyk led the charge to the medal podium with a gold-medal effort in the C1 5,000 metres, a bronze in the C1 500 metres and a bronze in the C2 500 metres with Abby.

Abby’s second podium visit took her to the top step, after winning gold in the C4 500 metres with Julia Price and Ruby Muhl, both Rideau teammates, and Elizabeth Desrosiers-McArthur of Lac Beauport.

Muhl also was a double medallist as she teamed with Nicholas Shirokov of Mississauga to win the bronze in the C1 mixed relay over 5,000 metres.

Rideau’s Callie Loch posted a pair of eighth-place showings in the women’s junior kayak K2 and K4 Canadian crew boats over 500 metres.

Evie McDonald was another strong women’s canoeist for Canada and Rideau as she placed fifth in the U23 class C1 200 metres.

In other U23 races, Maren Bradley was eighth in the women’s K1 1,000 metres and brother Peter Bradley took 10th place in the men’s C1 5,000 metres.

Meanwhile at the Tour de France, Stage 9 required the cyclists to take a long, steep climb to the famed Puy de Dome finish line and that’s the type of course made for Ottawa’s Michael Woods, who rides for Israel-Premier Tech.

Woods was active throughout the stage, but he saved his best for last, starting his solo and final attack with three kilometres remaining.

With 1,200 metres left, Woods caught Matej Mohoric of Bahrain Victorious, moved into second place and was in pursuit of leader Matteo Jorgenson, an American with Movistar.

Woods pulled behind Jorgenson with 500 metres remaining and 100 metres later started his stand-up cycling to surge unchallenged to the finish of the 182.4-kilometre stage. He even had the time and confidence to give a thumbs-up to a TV camera.

Woods accomplished his major goal by winning his first Tour de France stage in four hours, 19 minutes, 41 seconds. Pierre Latour of France and TotalEnergies was 28 seconds back in second place.

Woods’ performance allowed him to jump up 10 spots in the General Classification to 22nd overall, improve eight places in the Points Classification to 11th and make his first appearance in the King of the Mountain Classification at fifth.

Monday was a rest day for the Tour de France cyclists.

Canadian riders have now achieved three individual stage victories in Tour de France history and all three riders were at the finish line. Steve Bauer, who is an Israel-Premier Tech sport director, won on July 4, 1988, and Woods helped Hugo Houle to his victory July 19, 2022.

“Winning a stage in the Tour de France is something I’ve always wanted to do and talked about doing, but is never something I’ve achieved and I finally did it today,” said Woods, who became the tour’s 11th oldest stage winner at 36 years old.

“I knew it was going to be difficult to bring back Jorgenson with him being so strong, but I didn’t really worry about that. I just focused on myself and wanted to go my hardest all the way to the top.

“It was only with 800 metres to go that I knew I had a shot because I saw him really starting to fade. I’m super happy with how it turned out.”

Israel-Premier Tech owner Sylvan Adams has known Woods for many years and was thrilled with the victory.

“Mike showed us again that he is one of the best climbers in the world,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to finish the first week of the Tour with a victory.

“Due to my long personal relationship with Mike and the other Canadians on our team, I couldn’t be more proud. One of the best days ever for the team. Yalla!”

Meanwhile, Bianca Borgella’s third-place finish in the T13-class 100 metres also earned Canada a qualification spot for the 2024 Paralympic Games.

“I’m really happy with my results,” said Borgella, a visually-impaired sprinter who qualified Sunday for the final by placing second in her heat with a national record time of 12.03 seconds.

“This is my first worlds so I’ll take that into consideration. It wasn’t the time I was expecting, but I’m just happy to be able to experience it and take home the bronze.”

Bianca Borgella. Photo: Yonathan Kellerman / Athletics Canada

Lamiya Valiyeva of Azerbaijan and Adiaratou Iglesias of Spain finished one-two respectively with the identical time of 11.99 seconds. Valiyeva had the fastest qualifying time in the semifinals at 11.89 seconds.

Borgella is scheduled to run the T13 200 metres on Tuesday (qualifying) and Wednesday (final).


Canada won the bronze medal at the FIBA women’s AmeriCup championship in Leon, Mexico, but missed seizing a direct berth into the 16-country 2024 Olympic qualifying tournament.

If Canada had defeated the United States in its semifinal, it would have received an invitation to the Olympic qualifying tournament, where 10 countries will advance to the Summer Games. The U.S. and host France already have berths in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Brazil, however, defeated Puerto Rico 85-74 to win its semifinal, reach the final and earn the lone available spot in the Olympic qualifier from the Americas tournament. The United States already punched its ticket to the Paris Olympics by winning the 2022 World Cup in Australia.

In the AmeriCup championship game, Brazil took the gold medal with a 69-58 victory over the U.S.

Canada will need to finish in the top two at the Olympic pre-qualifying tournament Nov. 5-13 in Argentina to advance to an Olympic qualifying tournament in February, 2024.

In the bronze-medal match, Canada overcame a one-point halftime deficit (39-38) to defeat Puerto Rico 80-73.

Capital Courts Academy grad Cassandre Prosper of the University of Notre Dame scored three points and collected two rebounds in almost 16 minutes of play. University of Louisville senior Merissah Russell, who also wore Capital Courts’ colours, played two minutes and 51 seconds and had one rebound.

Canada lost 67-63 to the U.S. in the semifinals, after defeating Argentina 68-60 in the quarterfinals. In the preliminary round, Canada out played Mexico 83-57, Puerto Rico 84-47, Colombia 89-55 and Dominican Republic 88-44.

Prosper averaged 19.8 minutes, seven points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals a game. Russell averaged 9.4 minutes, 2.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists a game.


The host club emerged triumphant in nine of the 14 divisions that reported their results for the annual Ottawa Valley Golf Association Intersectionals competition on Sunday.

There were 63 club teams in the competition – 15 matches involving four club teams of 10 golfers each and one match with three clubs. Results were unavailable from the host Vieux Moulins (division N) and Irish Hills (division P) clubs.

In one of the two closest contests of the day, host Rideau View counted 35 points to win the A section, which is dedicated to the top teams, while Ottawa Hunt was second at 33 points and Royal Ottawa had 31 points. Carleton Golf and Yacht was fourth at 21 points.

Gordon Goodkey, Eric Smith and Jonathan Blakely won their matches against their three opponents and earned the maximum six points. The other six-point scorers were Max Rochette and Dwight Reinhart with the Hunt and Carson Key and James Newton with Royal Ottawa.

The visiting Eagle Creek team scored 32 points to win the D division ahead of host and runner-up Kanata and third-place finisher Pembroke, which both finished with 31 points. Algonquin was fourth at 25 points.

The other Intersectional division winners were: Camelot, host, B; GreyHawk, host, C; Smiths Falls, host, E; Brockville, host, F; eQuinnelle, G; Greensmere, host, H; Hammond, I; Casselview, J; Whitetail, K; Pine View, host, L; Manderley, host, M; The Homestead, host, O.

The winners of each division, excluding A, will all move up one class for 2024, while the fourth-place finishers will drop one division, except in P.


The Oakville Whitecaps will represent Ontario at the Canadian Little League Baseball seniors championship, which begins Sunday at the Nepean Sportsplex. The championship is being staged by the East Nepean Eagles.

The Whitecaps, which finished the three-team, double round-robin at 3-1, defeated the 3-1 Upper Ottawa Valley RiverCats 7-1 in the championship game in Pembroke.

South Ottawa Blues placed third at 0-4.

The Little League Baseball Ontario intermediate championship tournament at Ottawa’s Pinecrest diamond has reached the playoff stage.

Ottawa West Twins, which were 3-1 in the round robin, were scheduled to play Orleans Red Sox, 2-2, on Monday in the lone semifinal. The winner will advance to Tuesday’s scheduled championship final against the Ancaster Diamondbacks, 3-1.


· Ottawa Rowing Club’s Josh King was in the men’s eight as Canada placed sixth during the World Rowing Cup III final in Lucerne behind Australia, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Romania and Germany. Aidan Hembruff of the Ottawa Rowing Club and the University of Western joined the University of British Columbia’s Julien Wiese, Axel Ewashko and Julian Black in the men’s four B final and were 10th overall in the standings.

· Olympian Amy Millar of Perth and GSC Athena won the five-horse jump off with a clean ride in 38.67 seconds to claim first place in the $50,000 RBC Grand Prix during the first of two weeks of equestrian shows in the ninth Ottawa Summer Tournament. Thirteen-year-old Mathilde Candele of Orangeville, ON., and Disco de Pleville had the fastest time of 36.66 seconds, but also knocked down one rail for four faults to place third. Taylor Brooks of Ashton, ON., on Spectre won the $10,000 Gladys Adam Memorial Hunter Derby.

· The Canadian men’s volleyball team defeated China 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-18 to win its only match against three losses on their final weekend of the Volleyball Nations League in Pasay City, Philippines. The win allowed Canada to remain in volleyball’s top league for 2024. Captain Nicholas Hoag of Gatineau earned a total of 37 points in three matches.

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

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

HELP SHINE A LIGHT ON LOCAL SPORT! The Ottawa Sports Pages has proudly provided a voice for local sport for over 10 years, but we need your help to continue another 10 and beyond. Please donate to the Ottawa Sports Pages Fund today.

Leave a Reply