By Martin Cleary
Kyle Tremblay accomplished a major goal Monday at the Parapan-American Games, and will be chasing another important objective later this week.
By reaching the semifinals of para archery men’s individual compound open competition, the Deep River, ON., resident earned one of two available quota spots for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Summer Games. Mexico took the other quota berth, after the United States and Costa Rica had earlier claimed the first two Americas quota entries.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to have qualified that spot,” Tremblay, 32, said via the Canadian Paralympic Committee after his match, which was held under bright sunshine and warm temperatures.
“It makes all my training I’ve done this past year worth it and puts everything into perspective on how hard you have to work for these types of things.”
After having a day off Tuesday, Tremblay, a wheelchair archer, will aim and shoot for the bronze medal on Wednesday against Mexico’s Victor Sardinia, who competes by releasing the arrows with his feet.
Tremblay came within a few millimetres of competing for the gold medal against Kevin Polish of the United States, losing in a shoot-out to Diego Quesada of Costa Rica.
Representing Canada for the first time in a major, multi-sport Games, Tremblay and Quesada finished their five-round (total of 15 arrows each) semifinal deadlocked at 143 points. In the tie-breaking shoot-out, where each archer releases only one arrow, Quesada scored 10, while Tremblay marked nine.
“That last arrow is just a matter of controlling your nerves, knowing your shot process without having to think about it and just staying focused on aiming,” Tremblay explained.
“Mine was just outside the 10-point mark, his was inside, so he clearly won.”
Tremblay, a three-time world championship team member for Canada, reached the semifinals by defeating Joffre Villavivencio of Ecuador 139-126 in the quarterfinals. The Ecuadorian ruined his chances to contend for a medal when his third arrow in the second round missed the target and he scored zero points.
Wednesday is the final day for para archery and Tremblay will be the only Canadian shooting for a medal.
“I feel having a day in between will give myself time to settle down from the quota, settle down from what I just went through and refocus myself on my shot process, my mental thinking in high-stress situations and prepare myself better for the match,” he said.
Tremblay entered Monday’s elimination matches placing second in the opening ranking round. He scored 683 points and finished behind Polish, who counted 699 points.
“Competing at my first Games is definitely a milestone I am proud of,” he said. “To be representing my country in such a prestigious event is why I train so hard and sacrifice so much, so in these moments, I am the best I can be.”
Meanwhile in mixed wheelchair rugby, Canada improved its record to 4-0, following a pair of convincing wins Monday.
After defeating Argentina 63-30 and Brazil 62-41 on the weekend, Canada stormed past Chile 60-27 and Colombia 61-45. Co-captain Patrice Dagenais of Embrun, ON., scored his only two trys in the win over Argentina.
Canada evened its women’s goalball record at 1-1, after outscoring Peru 11-1. Emma Reinke scored Canada’s final seven goals, all in the second half, while Amy Burk of Ottawa posted all four goals in the first half.
The United States defeated Canada 5-3 on the opening day as Burk had two goals and Reinke added one.
Ottawa’s Sam Charron has had a foot in all three goals for Canada, which has an 0-3 record with two round-robin games remaining in CP soccer.
Canada fell 2-1 in its opener, when Venezuela scored both its goals in the 60th+6 and 60th+8 time frames. Brazil was an overpowering force and turned back Canada 11-1. Charron scored both goals for Canada.
On Monday, Charron assisted on Canada’s lone goal by Silviu Butnaru in a 2-1 loss to Chile.
Anne-Marie Dolinar of Deep River, ON., has been eliminated in women’s singles and doubles in wheelchair tennis.
She lost her round-of-16 singles match to Colombia’s Johana Martinez 6-0, 6-3. In doubles, Dolinar teamed with Natalia Lanucha and lost 6-0, 6-2 to Dana Mathewson and Maylee Phelps of the United States.
PLENTY OF NATIONAL CAPITAL CONTENT FOR VANIER CUP
There will be 11 players from Ottawa-Gatineau competing in the Vanier Cup U Sports national university football championship Saturday in Kingston.
The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds will have seven Ottawa players in their lineup for the final game, after defeating St. Francis Xavier University X-Men 47-17 to win the Mitchell Bowl.
The Université de Montréal Carabins upset No. 1-ranked Western University Mustangs 29-3, allowing three Gatineau players and one from Chelsea, PQ., to reach the national championship.
Kieran Flannery-Fleck accounted for 14 UBC points from his kicking skills. He booted field goals from 17, 32 and 37 yards as well as five converts. Flannery-Fleck also made six kickoffs and punted five times for an average of 38.8 yards a kick.
Running back Isaiah Knight gained 115 yards on 17 carries and made two catches for 27 yards. Starting wide receiver Mark Webb had two receptions for 16 yards.
On defence, lineman Clark Leonard had two solo and one assisted tackles, while defensive back Ronan Horrall earned one assisted tackle.
Completing the Ottawa connection are first-year quarterback Alex La Vecchia and defensive back Stephane Tshishimbi.
The West Quebec players on the Carabins are Gatineau receivers Simon Riopel and Brandon Gourgon and defensive linemen Gabriel Maisonneuve of Gatineau and Theo McElligott of Chelsea.
Riopel had two receptions for 17 yards in the Carabins’ victory.
TEAM HOMAN WINS RED DEER CURLING CLASSIC IN 4 ENDS
Ottawa Curling Club’s Rachel Homan needed only four ends rather than eight to win the Pumps and Pressure Red Deer Curling Classic in Red Deer, AB.
Homan, third Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes defeated Edmonton’s Selena Sturmay 8-1 in the final for their sixth consecutive victory and third of the day on Monday.
The teams shook hands after Homan scored four in the fourth end, after counting two in each of the first and third ends. The Sturmay point came in the second end.
The victory earned Team Homan $10,000, while Sturmay collected $7,000.
After qualifying for the playoffs by winning three A-event matches by an average of 6.3 points a game, Homan defeated Winnipeg’s Beth Peterson 7-3 in the quarterfinals and Winnipeg’s Kaitlyn Lawes 5-3 in the semifinals.
DOUBLE SILVER FOR LONG-TRACK SPEED SKATER IVANIE BLONDIN
Gloucester’s Ivanie Blondin scored a pair of silver medals in two team events at the long-track speed skating World Cup in Beijing.
After holding off Canadian teammate Valérie Maltais at the finish line for second spot in the mass start, Blondin joined Brooklyn McDougall and Maddison Pearman to earn the women’s team sprint silver, finishing 1.02 seconds behind The Netherlands’ entry.
In her individual races, Blondin was ninth over 3,000 metres in 4:11.21, 11th in the 1,500-metre final in 1:58.14 and 14th over 1,000 metres in 1:17.32.
Ottawa’s Isabelle Weidemann was well back of the medal podium, placing sixth in the 3,000 metres in 4:09.84 and 19th and last in the 1,500 metres’ A division in 2:01.29.
Vincent De Haître of Cumberland linked with teammates David La Rue and Laurent Dubreuil for an eighth-place showing in the men’s team sprint in 1:22.43. De Haître also was 14th in the men’s 1,000 metres in 1:10.10 and ninth in the 1,500-metre B final in 1:48.09.
MIMI RAHNEVA OPENS SKELETON SEASON WITH BRONZE
Mimi Rahneva won the bronze medal at the season-opening skeleton sliding event Friday in Beijing. It was the first World Cup held on the track that played host to the 2022 Olympics, where Rahneva placed fifth.
“This year, it is about regaining the joy and gratitude I have for skeleton. I am realizing I can’t do this forever,” the 35-year-old said in a CBC Sports story. “I’m in it this year to love the sport for what it is and be grateful for the opportunity I have to represent Canada. Any time your flag goes up it is a good moment, so it was a good start.”
Rahneva also got to celebrate a bit of a pre-season victory when a young slider from Belleville elected to rejoin Team Canada after competing for the U.S. last year, as a result of the reforms Rahneva helped spearhead at Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.
LEONARDA ANDRIC MOVES CLOSER TO OLYMPIC TAEKWONDO QUALIFICATION
Ottawa’s Leonarda Andric won the Canadian pre-qualification tournament on Friday in Scarborough to take the next step in her Olympic taekwondo qualification quest.
The Phoenix Taekwondo athlete downed all three of her opponents en route to the women’s under-67 kg title. With the victory, she earned the opportunity to represent Canada at the continental qualifier, to be held next year.
GEE-GEES, RAVENS BASKETBALL TEAMS HAVE UNDEFEATED WEEKEND
The national champion Carleton University Ravens men’s basketball team is back on track with a pair of OUA wins, but the No. 1 University of Ottawa Gee-Gees still serve as the powerful engine up the tracks.
The Gee-Gees scored a pair of double-digit victories, turning back Lakehead University Thunderwolves 97-81 and the Brock University Badgers 73-62.
Jacques-Melaine Guemeta and Justin Ndjock-Tadjore led the Gee-Gees’ win over Lakehead with 25 and 24 points respectively. Kevin Otoo counted 20 points, six rebounds and four steals in Ottawa’s decision over the Badgers as Brock Newton added 18 points, four rebounds and three assists.
A 29-point fourth quarter allowed Carleton to overcome an eight-point, third-quarter deficit and defeat Brock 69-63. Marjok Okado contributed 22 points for the Ravens.
Three players reached the 20-point club as the Ravens downed Lakehead 88-78. Xavier Spencer was the team leader with 21 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals, while Augustas Brazdeikis and Noah Horobetz Simpson had matching 20-point efforts.
The Ravens and Gee-Gees women’s teams also had undefeated weekends at home.
Defending national champion Carleton received points from four different players in overtime to edge Brock 81-79. Kali Pocrnic hit 13 of 17 free throws for more than half of her team-leading 25 points.
Jacqueline Urban notched 13 points and six rebounds, while Kyana-Jade Poulin and Zerina Duvnjak had 11 points each.
Tatyanna Burke sparked the Ravens past Lakehead 85-41 with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Pocrnic supported with 17 points and three assists, and Dorcas Buisa had 14 points and four rebounds.
The Gee-Gees received a 21-point, five-rebound effort from Natsuki Szczokin in a 70-62 triumph over Lakehead. Emily Payne and Allie McCarthy had 15 and 14 points respectively.
Four of the five starters scored in double figures and the fifth missed it by one point as Ottawa played a strong two middle quarters to defeat Brock 74-56. The Gee-Gees outscored the Badgers 20-14 and 13-2 in the respective second and third quarters.
Szczokin had 17 points, Payne added 14 points, Ariane Saumure had 12 points and 10 rebounds and McCarthy also contributed 12 points, six rebounds and three steals. Melina De Julio finished with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists.
LAST, BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST
· Canada defeated the United States 2-1 to win the bronze medal at the U18 Men’s Softball World Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico. Utility player Conner Hopper of Fitzroy Harbour played in the first two games, had two hits in three at-bats and contributed two RBI. Canada finished third with a 7-2 record.
· Carleton Place’s Anne Fergusson and Pembroke’s Jolan Wong helped Canada to a silver medal performance at a berth in the Paris 2024 Paralympics after Canada won five matches to reach the final of the Sitting Volleyball World Cup in Egypt.
· Arianne Gagnon scored the game-winning goal in the second period and assisted on Katherine Birkby’s opening goal as the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees edged the Carleton University Ravens 2-1 in women’s hockey to win the Colonel By Classic and retain the Alerts Cup. Abigail Byrne scored for the Ravens.
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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