By Martin Cleary
Canada will send one of its largest team of athletes to the 19th Pan-American Games in Santiago, Chile, which opened Friday and run through Nov. 5.
The national delegation of 473 athletes is in line with the number who participated in the 2019 Lima Games (477) and the 2019 Guadalajara Games (477), but distant from when the Games were staged in Canada. The 2015 Toronto Games had 713 Canadian athletes and 618 athletes wore national colours at the 1989 Winnipeg Games.
The Santiago Games will be the first time the Pan-Am movement has come to Chile. There will be 423 medal events across 39 sports and 61 disciplines.
Beach volleyball players Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson, who are both from Toronto, were selected to carry the Canadian flag during the Games’ opening ceremony on Friday. Humana-Paredes will be especially proud as both of her parents are Chilean and she has been a member of the Pan-Am Sports Athlete Commission since 2019.
The National Capital Region will be well represented at the Santiago Games with 28 athletes wearing Team Canada colours. Here is a sport-by-sport breakdown of the Ottawa and area athletes:
ARCHERY – Eric Peters, Ottawa, silver-medal winner in the men’s individual recurve competition at the 2023 world archery championships in Berlin; ranked No. 13 in the world.
ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS – Frederique Sgarbossa, Gatineau, 2023 Canada Winter Games women’s all-around gold medallist; Canadian team alternate for the 2023 world championships.
ATHLETICS – Keira Christie-Galloway, Ottawa, Canadian women’s U20 and U18 100-metre hurdles record holder; won the 2019 Big 12 Conference championship women’s 100-metre title as a freshman for Iowa State University.
ATHLETICS – Stephen Evans, Ottawa, men’s 800-metre bronze medallist at the 2023 Canadian senior track and field championships in a personal-best and Ottawa Lions Track and Field club record 1:47.02.
CANOE SLALOM – Lois Betteridge, Ottawa, women’s C-1 silver medallist at the 2019 Lima Pan-Am Games and the 2023 Pan-American championships; seven-time Canadian U23 C-1 and K-1 champion.
CANOE SLALOM – Mael Rivard, Ottawa, men’s K-1 silver medallist at the 2023 Pan-American championships; represented Canada at the 2021, 2022 and 2023 world championships.
CANOE SPRINT – Madeline Schmidt, Ottawa, placed 11th in women’s K-4 500 metres at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 17th in K-2 500 metres; ninth in K-4 500 metres at the 2018 world championships; K-1 200-metre bronze medallist at the 2013 world junior championships.
CANOE SPRINT – Natalie Davison, Ottawa, made her first national team in 2017 and raced the world senior championships that year, placing 11th in the K-4 500 metres.
CANOE SPRINT – Sophia Jensen, Chelsea, one of world’s top women’s racers in her discipline; two gold, one silver and one bronze medals at the 2021 world U23 championships; six-time gold medallist at the world junior championships in 2018 and 2019.
CANOE SPRINT – Toshka Besharah-Hrebacka, Ottawa, won bronze at the world junior championships in K-1 200 metres in 2021 and K-4 500 metres in 2019.
DIVING – Kate Miller, Ottawa, placed second in the 10-metre synchro with Caeli McKay at the 2023 World Aquatics Diving World Cup Super Final; was eighth with McKay in women’s 10-metre synchro at the world diving championships.
EQUESTRIAN – Amy Millar, Perth, ON., helped Canada to a fourth-place finish in the show jumping team event at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics; has recorded 25 Grand Prix victories in 589 career starts; daughter of Olympic show jumping legend Ian Millar.
FIELD HOCKEY – Kenzie Girgis, Ottawa, second-year University of British Columbia student-athlete; made the 2023 Canadian women’s junior team, finished fourth at the Pan-American championships and helped Canada qualify for the upcoming Junior World Cup.
FIELD HOCKEY – Rowan Harris, Ottawa, named to the Canadian senior women’s team in 2016; played for Canada in 2022 at its first World Cup appearance in 28 years as its goalkeeper; won two U Sports championships with the University of British Columbia.
KARATE – Hana Furumoto-Deshaies, Gatineau, became just the second Canadian to win a gold medal on the Karate1 Series A tour in April; has made two quarterfinal appearances on top-level Karate1 Premier League in Egypt and Japan; born in Ottawa.
KARATE – Lily-Rose Nolet, Gatineau, won gold in the U21 +68kg event at 2023 Pan Am Junior Championships; studying police techniques at Cégep de l’Outaouais; 19 years old, born in Ottawa.
MODERN PENTATHLON – Robert Bonomo, Toronto, past University of Ottawa Gee-Gees swim team national medallist took up the first-sport pursuit in town under coach John Hawes; represented Canada at 2022 and 2023 World Championships, placing 68th and 71st; making multi-sport games debut.
RUGBY 7s – Olivia De Couvreur, Ottawa, helped the Canadian senior women’s team qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics; won a gold medal at the 2019 Lima Pan-American Games; attended the Rugby Canada Academy in 2017-18.
RUGBY 7s – Elias Hancock, Bytown Blues and University of Ottawa Gee-Gees alum; moved to Victoria, B.C. to join national rugby 7s program in 2021; represented Canada at 2022 Commonwealth Games.
SAILING – Rebecca Heller, Dunrobin, a biomedical mechanical engineering student at the University of Ottawa; racing in the IQ Foil windsurfing class; competed for Canada at the 2023 world championships.
SHOOTING – Lynda Kiejko, Calgary, born in Winchester, ON.; competed in the 2020 Tokyo and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics; won 10-metre air pistol and 25-metre pistol gold medals at the 2015 Toronto Pan-Am Games.
SURFING – Lina Augaitis, Coldstream, B.C., the Nepean native is a two-time world stand-up paddleboard champion in distance (2014) and sprint (2016) and a two-time world silver medallist in distance (2015) and technical (2014); 2019 Pan-Am Games competitor.
SWIMMING – Julie Brousseau, Ottawa, won record-tying 11 medals, including six gold, at the 2022 Canada Summer Games; posted top-five results in three events at the 2023 Canadian swimming trials.
TABLE TENNIS – Eugene Wang, Aurora, ON.; competed in three Summer Olympics and two Pan-Am Games; mixed doubles champion with Mo Zhang at Lima 2019; received Canadian citizenship two weeks before participating in the 2012 London Olympics while based at national team training centre, formerly in Ottawa.
WATER POLO – Floranne Carroll, led the 2017 16U girls’ National Championship League in scoring with 74 goals in 18 games for Capital Wave; joined Stanford University and won two NCAA titles; gold medallist at 2019 Junior Pan Am Championship; debuted for Canadian senior women’s team in 2022.
WATER POLO – Bogdan Djerkovic, Ottawa, named to the Canadian men’s national team for the last six years; bronze medallist at the 2017 Youth Pan-American championship and the Junior Pan-American championship; sparked the University of the Pacific to the 2022 Golden Coast Conference title and was named MVP.
WATER POLO – Aleksa Gardijan, Gatineau, played for Canada in the 2019 FINA World League Super Final tournament; gold medallist at the 2016 Junior Pan-American championship.
WATER POLO – Jessica Gaudreault, Ottawa, as goalkeeper helped Canada win the silver medal at the 2017 FINA World League Super Final and was named most valuable goalkeeper; won gold medals at the 2008 and 2010 Junior Pan-American championships.
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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