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HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: Sarah Schonfeld helps Canada to rugby 7s silver at Commonwealth Youth Games

By Martin Cleary

Mission accomplished for Ottawa’s Sarah Schonfeld and the Canadian women’s 18U rugby 7s team at the seventh Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago.

“As a team, we’re hoping for a medal,” Schonfeld said in an interview before heading to this week’s six-country competition.

As a team, Canada won four of its six matches in three days and earned the silver medal on Tuesday afternoon.

The only team Canada couldn’t solve was mighty Australia, which scored a 50-0 decision in the gold-medal game. Australia led 21-0 at halftime.

In the round robin, Australia shut out Canada 33-0. Canada won its other preliminary matches 21-7 over Wales, 19-17 over Fiji on a last-minute try and convert, 59-0 over Trinidad and Tobago and 17-0 over Kenya.

Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club’s John McGowan of Kemptville reached the men’s 100-metre semifinals at the Games and placed seventh in 11.07 seconds. He was second in his opening heat in 11.05 seconds.

Schonfeld, who trains with the Bytown Blues Rugby Football Club women’s and U18 teams and attended Elmwood School, was a prop for the national team and created space for her teammates to score points.

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At the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas, Australia also defeated Canada in the women’s rugby 7s final 31-5.

“It will be the first time these players put on a Canada jersey and we hope to make it an incredible experience,” Canadian head coach Darcy Patterson said in a pre-Games press release.

“There is a legacy of this program doing well at these Games and we are excited to put the work into keeping that legacy alive.”

Mission accomplished.


Ottawa’s Eric Peters earned a career-best result in his biggest event of the season at the 2023 Archery World Championships on Sunday in Berlin.

The 26-year-old won six consecutive head-to-head matches to reach the men’s recurve final, eventually settling for the silver medal behind reigning Olympic champion Mete Gazoz of Turkey.

Peters won his previous three matches 6-4 against opponents from Indonesia, Netherlands and Germany, and had an easier time earlier facing South Korean, German and Swedish archers.

Peters’ previous best finish in top international competition was fifth at an April World Cup in Turkey.

With his worlds performance, Peters jumped from 31st in the world rankings up to 13th and secured a Paris 2024 Olympic berth for Canada.


Jorai Oppong-Nketiah broke a seven-year-old provincial age-group record at the Athletics Ontario U14, U16, U18 championships in London.

The Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club sprinter won the girls’ U16 race in 11.78 seconds, which erased the former record held by Makenzy Pierre-Webster of Durham Gazelles at 11.81 seconds. Oppong-Nketiah’s time also eclipsed the club record of 11.9 seconds (hand-timed) by Miranda Kirby in 1983.

As a 15-year-old, Oppong-Nketiah ran the second fastest 100 metres ever in Canada for someone her age. The best time belongs to Jenni Hucul of Saskatchewan Athletics at 11.58 seconds in 2003.

In the girls’ U14 sprints, Atalia Williams recorded a pair of second-place finishes in the 80 metres in 10.67 seconds and the 150 metres in 20.13 seconds.

The 80 metres almost produced a dead heat as Williams’ official time was 10.669 seconds, while winner Sophia Tzvetkov of Thorold Elite was clocked in 10.667 seconds.

Daniel Cova earned three gold and one bronze medals. He scored firsts in the boys’ U18 2,000-metre steeplechase in 6:21.48, the 3,000 metres in 8:46.67 and the boys’ 1,600-metre sprint medley relay in 3:36.64 with Safwan El Mansari, Janssen Assogba and Ladi Ogunmekan.

Maxime Cazabon collected a full slate of medals, winning the boys’ U14 high jump at 1.60 metres, placing second in the 300 metres in 39.29 seconds and finishing third in the 80 metres in 9.84 seconds.

Timeo Atonfo was busy in the boys’ U18 class, which was highlighted by his second-place result in the 4×100-metre relay in 43.99 seconds with Ogunmekan, Mukhtar Raji and Assogba. Atonfo also was third in the long jump at 6.64 metres, the triple jump at 13.80 metres and the 4×400-metre relay in 3:31.30 with Eric Zielonka, Jonah Gratton and Ethan Lavictoire.

Zielonka also was third in the boys’ U18 400-metre hurdles in 57.88 seconds.

Charlie Mortimer won the boys’ U16 1,500-metre steeplechase in 4:40.41 and also joined Luke Van Brabant, Yousef Kamel and Yusuf Elmasry for a third-place result in the boys’ 4×800-metre relay in 9:15.77.

The Lions’ team of Sofia Lefaivre, Maya Allibon, Kyra Lauter and Bianca Arabackyj was third in the girls’ 4×800-metre relay in 10:42.56.

A pair of local steeplechasers also hit the podium recently at the North American, Central American and Caribbean U18/U23 Championships in Costa Rica. Lions Kevin Robertson (U23 men’s 3,000 m steeple) and Derek Strachan (U18 2,000 m steeple exhibition) were gold and silver medallists respectively.


Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club’s Ashley McMillan and ROC Swimming’s Olivier Risk emerged as champions during the six-day Canadian swimming championships in Toronto.

McMillan won the women’s 18+ 200-metre individual medley in two minutes, 11.44 seconds. That result helped her a tie for sixth overall in the women’s 18+ aggregate standings.

Risk was the boys’ 16-18 winner in the 1,500-metre freestyle in 15:41.94. He tied for 10th in the boys’ 16-18 aggregate standings.

Annika Hollo of GO Kingfish also had a tie for 10th in the girls’ 13-14 aggregate standings.


The Ottawa West Twins won their final game at the Canadian Little League Baseball majors championship in Regina on Tuesday, but finished fifth overall and missed the playoffs.

The Twins defeated Moose Jaw 9-6 in a game that was halted on the opening day of competition because of inclement weather and completed on Tuesday. The win left the Twins with a 3-3 record and tied with host North Regina and Alberta’s Rocky Mountain for third place.

But Rocky Mountain and North Regina advanced to Wednesday’s scheduled semifinals because of a better run-differential score than the Twins. Undefeated Little Mountain of Vancouver (6-0), the defending champion, will play Rocky Mountain, while Quebec’s Diamond Mirabel (5-1) will face North Regina.

The Twins defeated Sydney 6-2, Rocky Mountain 6-5 and Moose Jaw 9-6, but lost to Little Mountain 21-0, North Regina 7-6 and Diamond Mirabel 5-2.

On Sunday, the Twins attended the CFL game and saw the Saskatchewan Roughriders edge the Ottawa Redblacks 26-24.


The National Development Centre – Ontario team lost the League1 Ontario women’s soccer championship to Alliance United FC 2-1 in overtime on Saturday.

In the semifinals, NDC – Ontario blanked FC London 4-0 and Ottawa’s Annabelle Chukwu scored two goals.

The NDC – Ontario team won the regular-season league title with 14 wins, one loss and three ties.

An interesting fact about the NDC – Ontario team is there are at least dozen Ottawa players on the squad: sisters Annabelle and Isabelle Chukwu, Rosa Maalouf, Bianca Hanisch, Felicia Hanisch, Katherine Ozard, Teegan Melenhorst, Ella Kettles, Sophia Cortez Browne, Mya Angus, Amelia Campanella and Maya Galko.


When it came to the 138th Royal Canadian Henley masters rowing regatta, the Ottawa Rowing Club doubled its fun on Sunday.

The club found its best success in the double event, winning two gold, two silver and one bronze medals.

Julia Fournier led the way with a gold-medal effort with Rachel Inch in the women’s D double and a silver with Stewart Taylor in the mixed D double.

Eric Aubin and Steve Higgins teamed for a first-place result in the men’s D double, while Dana Reid and Karin Germann were second in the women’s E-I 59-kilogram double.

Chris Lill and Jeff Hammell were bronze medallists in the men’s AA-D 72.5-kilogram double.

In singles competition, Olympian Rob Marland placed second in the men’s masters E class, while Michele Chadwick was third in the women’s masters E single.


The Nepean Knights were held to only one goal in the final two periods and dropped the fifth and decisive game of their Ontario Junior C Lacrosse League Eastern Conference final on Saturday 8-4 to the host North Shore Kodiaks.

The Knights led 3-1 after the first period, but the Kodiaks wrapped up the best-of-five conference final outscoring Nepean 4-1 and 3-0 respectively over the last two periods.

Wes Donnelly, Michael Murawsky, Colin McKinnon and Jackson Cowley scored the Nepean goals.

On Friday, the Knights evened the series 2-2 with an 8-6 victory as Isaac Laflamme counted three goals for the winners and Kyle Cameron contributed a pair. Nepean led 3-1 after the first period and the teams had matching offensive outputs over the final two periods at 4-4 and 1-1.


Giro d’Italia standout Derek Gee of Osgoode helped power Canada to a sixth-place finish in the elite men’s team pursuit at the world track cycling championships in Glasgow.

After qualifying with the sixth-best time, Canada defeated Germany in round 1, but its time of three minutes, 50.079 seconds wasn’t fastest enough to reach the finals. The Canadian team of Dylan Bibic of Mississauga, Michael Foley of Milton, ON., Gee and Mathias Guillemette of Trois-Rivières was sixth overall.

Gee also represented Canada in the men’s road race, but didn’t finish.

The Canadian squad of Erin Attwell of Victoria, Ariane Bonhomme of Gatineau, Maggie Coles-Lyster of Maple Ridge, B.C., and Sarah Van Dam of Victoria were eighth in qualifying and overall in the elite women’s team pursuit.

Italy defeated Canada in round 1 competition with a time of 4:11.342 and won the race by 15.165 seconds.

Bonhomme also was 12th in the women’s points race.

Ottawa Bicycle Club’s Joel Katz placed seventh in the Gran Fondo individual time trial in 32:37.981.

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.

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