Paralympics Day 3 Recap

Canadian women’s sitting volleyball team lose opener 3-2

Melfort attacker Julie Kozun and the Canadian women’s sitting volleyball team got their first action of the Paralympic Games on Day 3 and unfortunately it ended in a 3-2 loss to Brazil.

Canada won the first set 25-21, but Brazil came back to win the next two sets 26-24 and 25-20 to take a 2-1 lead. The two teams battled it out it out in the fourth set with Canada coming out on top 29-27 to force the fifth and final set which Brazil won 17-15.

Highlights for Canada’s game against Brazil. Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Kozun earned 13 points for Canada and also had the fastest serve of either team at 53 kilometres per hour.

Up next, Canada will take on Italy on Day 5.

Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team drops close game in OT

A hard fought, back-and-forth battle ended in favour of Turkey as they defeated the Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team 77-73 in overtime on Day 3 in Tokyo.

Turkey had a 20-13 lead after the first quarter, but Canada fought back in the second to tie the game at 30. The third quarter belonged to the red and white with Canada leading 54-45 by the break, but Turkey came back to tie the game 67-67 at the end of regulation play.

In the five-minute overtime period, Turkey outscored Canada 10-6 to win the game 77-73.

Regina’s Nik Goncin led Canadian scoring with a triple-double game, earning 33 points —12 of which came on three pointers— 15 rebounds and 11 assists. Garrett Ostepchuk, also from Regina, added two points to Canada’s tally.

Highlights for Canada’s game against Turkey. Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Canada, now 0-2, will look to pick up their first win of the Paralympics against Japan on Day 4.

Read more on wheelchairbasketball.ca.

Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 3 recap on Paralympic.ca…Priscilla Gagne, who carried Canada’s flag in the Opening Ceremony, picked up a silver in the women’s Para judo 52-kilogram event…on the cycling track, Kate O’Brien won silver in the women’s C4 500-m time trial…Canada’s medal count: 6 (0 Gold, 4 Silver, 2 Bronze)

Paralympics Day 2 Recap

Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team suffers opening game loss

It was a tough start to the Paralympic Games for the men’s wheelchair basketball team as they were defeated by Spain 78-41 on Day 2.

While Spain only outscored the Canadians 18-14 and 15-10 in the second and third quarters, the most damage was done at the beginning and end of the game with Spain picking up a 23-10 lead after the first quarter and finishing the game outscoring Canada 22-7.

Highlights from Canada’s wheelchair basketball game vs Spain. Canadian Paralympic Committee

Regina’s Nik Goncin led the red and white in scoring with 15 points, while fellow Regina teammate Garrett Ostepchuk picked up three points.

Next up for Canada is a game against Turkey on Day 3.

Read more at wheelchairbasketball.ca.

Rousell eliminated in epee preliminary round

Competition at the Paralympic Games came to an end for Asquith wheelchair fencer Ryan Rousell on Day 2 after he failed to advance out of the preliminary round in the men’s Category A epee event.

Rousell had a couple of close duels but was ultimately defeated in all six of his duels, losing 5-1 to Italy’s Emanuele Lambertini, 5-2 to Germany’s Maurice Schmidt, 5-4 to Russian Paralympic Committee’s Maxim Shaburov, 5-0 to Turkey’s Hakan Akkaya, 5-1 to Iraq’s Zainulabdeen Al-Madhkhoori and 5-4 to China’s Jianquan Tian.

“For a first Paralympics out of a very long career, I’m pleased with my performance,” said Rousell to the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “I certainly wish I could get more victories, but for the people I was fencing, and I know their calibre, I think I did very, very well for myself.”

Listen to the full interview and watch highlights from Rousell’s duels. Canadian Paralympic Committee

Paralympic notes: Read the full Day 2 recap on Paralylmpic.ca…Para cyclist Tristen Chernove won silver on the track in men’s C1 3,000-metre individual pursuit…Para swimmer Nicolas-Guy Turbide also won a silver medal in men’s S13 100-m backstroke…Canada’s medal count: 4 (0 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze).

Paralympics Day 1 Recap

Shaw earns Canada’s first medal at the Tokyo Paralympics

With a time of 3:48.342 seconds, Midale’s Keely Shaw set a personal best and defeated Australia’s Meg Lemon to capture bronze in the track Para cycling women’s C4 3,000-metre individual pursuit on Day 1 of the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Keely Shaw’s bronze medal race in the C4 3,000-metre individual pursuit. Canadian Paralympic Committee.

“I’m really glad I was able to put down the times that I knew we could accomplish in the bronze-medal match when it really matters,” said Shaw after the race to the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “I felt way better going into my medal race than I did going into my qualifier, and I think it showed with my performance. Meg was definitely catching up, she gave me the race of a lifetime especially in the last 500 metres, and I’m just so happy I was able to bring it home.” 

The bronze is Canada’s first medal of the Games and first for Shaw who is making her Paralympic debut.

In the qualifying round, Shaw placed third with a time of 3:49.032.

Shaw has two more events at the Games, the road time trial and the road race.

Para swimmer Newkirk sets new Canadian record

Making her Paralympic debut, Saskatoon Para swimmer Shelby Newkirk set a new Canadian record and personal best with a time of 35.50 seconds in the women’s S6 50-metre freestyle event heats.

The time placed Newkirk ninth overall between the heats —0.3 seconds out of eighth— and only the Top 8 advanced to the final.

Newkirk will also be competing in the women’s S7 100-m freestyle and the S6 100-m backstroke later in the Games.

Rousell has tough opening day

It was a rough start to his first Paralympics for Asquith wheelchair fencer Ryan Rousell.

Competing in the men’s Category A sabre event, Rousell was defeated in all his preliminary round duels, losing 5-4 to Ukraine’s Andrii Demchuk, 5-0 to Italy’s Edoardo Giordan, 5-3 to China’s Hao Li and 5-3 to Germany’s Maurice Schmidt.

He did not advance to the quarter-finals.

Rousell will have a shot a redemption on Day 2 of the Games when he competes in the men’s Category A epee.

Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 1 recap on Paralympic.ca…Para swimmer Aurélie Rivard won bronze in women’s S10 50-metre freestyle…Canada’s Paralympic Medals: 2 (0 Gold, 0 Silver, 2 Bronze)

Paralympics Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics.ca, August 24, 2021

The Tokyo Paralympic Games officially kicked off with Para judoka Priscilla Gagné carrying the flag for Canada at the Opening Ceremony.

The focus now turns to competition with three Saskatchewan athletes set to compete on Day 1 in Tokyo.

Five swimmers will be in the pool, including Saskatoon’s Shelby Newkirk making her Paralympic debut in the S6 50-metre freestyle. Newkirk’s heat begins at roughly 7:30 p.m. (SK time) on Day 1, followed by the final at approximately 3:45 a.m. (SK time). Five-time Paralympic medallist Aurélie Rivard, Nicholas Bennett, Angela Marina and Alec Elliot will also compete in Para swimming on Day 1.

All of Canada’s four wheelchair fencers will be in action starting at 6 p.m. (SK time) on Day 1 including Asquith’s Ryan Rousell in the sabre event. Matthieu Hébert joins Rousell in the men’s A classification, while Pierre Mainville will compete in the men’s B category. Ruth Sylvie Morel will participate in the women’s A tournament.

Midale’s Keely Shaw will make her debut in Para cycling at the Izu Velodrome, competing in the women’s C4 individual pursuit. She won a silver medal in this event at the 2019 world championships, and finished fourth in the 2020 edition. Qualifying for Shaw begins at 7:56 p.m. (SK time) on Day 1.  

Livestream and on-demand broadcasts can be found on Paralympic.ca/Tokyo-2020/live-stream-video-demand, cbc.ca/tokyo2020 and Radio-Canada.ca/jeux-paralympiques, the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices, the free CBC Gem streaming service, and the Radio-Canada Sports app.

Paralympic Notes... For a full Day 1 preview, visit Paralympic.ca… Other Canadian team’s in action on Day 1 include the women’s wheelchair basketball team against Great Britain, the women’s goalball team against the Russian Paralympic Committee and the men’s wheelchair rugby team against Great Britain.

Rousell ready for Tokyo

I feel like I’m as prepared as I possibly can be at this time and hopefully prepared enough to be able to do well on the international stage.

Ryan Rousell, Wheelchair fencer

Written by Matt Johnson for Sask Sport

When wheelchair fencing begins on August 25 at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, it will mark 551 days in between competition for Asquith’s Ryan Rousell.

Rousell, who is one of four Canadian wheelchair fencers set to compete at the Games, will be making his Paralympic debut by taking part in the Class A epee and sabre events, the latter of which he enters as the 15th-ranked fencer in the world.

Saskatchewan has only ever sent one fencer to an Olympic Games – Alan Francis in 1992. Rousell is set to be the first ever Para fencer to represent the province at the Paralympics. 

But the Games were more than in question for Rousell.

“When they were starting to shut stuff down, I was like ‘well, I guess that’s kind of just the end of my Paralympic run.’ And I was kind of scared that I’d put all this effort in and wasn’t going to get anything out of it, you know? But that’s just not the case anymore. So, I’m happy that my work won’t be for nothing,” said Rousell.

And while the end to the long layoff is certainly welcomed, it doesn’t come without uncertainty. Rousell last competed at a World Cup event in February 2020 in Hungary. While he notes he has previously competed against every fencer who will be at the Games, how they stack up against one-another is anyone’s guess.

“It’s kind of an enigma for all of us,” he said. “We’ve all been so far apart from each other for a very long time that our styles and our ways of actually fighting could have drastically changed. I’m just trying to get all the information and pieces together to make sure that I’ll be as prepared as I can be and then I’ll go from there.”

Rousell, who won Canada’s first-ever Para fencing gold medal at a World Cup event in 2018 in Montreal, notes he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous, but he believes he’s prepared as much as he can for this month’s opportunity.

“I feel like I’m as prepared as I possibly can be at this time, and hopefully prepared enough to be able to do well on the international stage.”

The Paralympic stage in Tokyo, a city of nearly 14 million, is quite the contrast from the town of Asquith, where Rousell was introduced to the sport at the local club when he was around the age of seven.

Photo by Josh Schaefer/GetMyPhoto.ca

The significance of Rousell’s Paralympic debut on the province’s fencing community, specifically the community of Asquith is something that isn’t lost on Rousell’s coach of more than 15 years, Doug Brecht.

“It is really neat for the Asquith club,” said Brecht. “When you consider the fact that our community is only 600 people, we joke that we are per capita the largest fencing club in the country, because we’ve got basically a club membership of about 20 people and a town of 600.

“The people in the town had been really, really supportive of Ryan and of the club. They’re constantly assisting us with bottle drive donations and attending any fundraisers that we hold and he’s been getting lots of well-wishes and congratulations online for what he’s accomplished.”

The first-time Paralympian still calls Asquith Garde Fencing Academy his home club and it’s also where he discovered the wheelchair side of the sport in 2017, when Brecht organized Ruth Sylvie Morel — a women’s wheelchair fencing national team member and will be competing in her third Paralympic Games in Tokyo— to come visit Rousell.

Rousell was born with cerebral palsy and has a shorter right arm and leg compared to the left side of his body. Growing up, Brecht notes Rousell was always hesitant to transition to Para fencing but believes that it was Rousell’s persistence and development as an able-bodied fencer that helped him become the skilled Para fencer he is today.

“He couldn’t advance and retreat as quickly as his opponents could. So he had to get a lot faster with his hand. So when he would do his attacks or whatever the case was, he developed a very fast hand,” said Brecht.

And ultimately through Morel and Brecht’s mentoring and eventually convincing him to compete in an international event in Netherlands, where he won his first international medal, he quickly came to realize that this opportunity, to be able to compete on the world stage was more than an achievable reality.

Rousell has mentioned not wanting to place his efforts on becoming one of the best in the world. He instead wants to focus his energy on his own abilities.

For the first time in a long time, Rousell will have that opportunity to be the best he can be in Tokyo.

“However, that turns out, I know I’ve tried my best and I went there and I experienced it and I’m ready for the next one.”

And in Para fencing, where fencers frequently compete into their forties, Tokyo has the potential to be only the beginning of something special for the 24-year-old Rousell.

Rousell opens Paralympic competition in the sabre on August 24 at 6 p.m. (SK time). Epee is slated for August 25 at 12:30 a.m. (SK time).

Full Rousell and other Saskatchewan Paralympian’s schedule.

Paralympic Flag Bearer

Paralympic.ca, August 21, 2021

Para judo star Priscilla Gagné has been selected to represent Canada as flag bearer at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony on August 24.

Currently ranked No. 2 in the world in the 52kg category, Gagné is set to compete in her second Paralympic Games after finishing fifth in her debut at Rio 2016. In 2018, she became the first Canadian woman to podium at the Para judo world championships, winning a bronze medal. She is also a two-time Parapan Am Games silver medallist (2015 and 2019).

“It’s been my dream to compete in the Paralympics ever since I was a 10-year-old child and to be given the honour of flag bearer is beyond anything I could have imagined,” said Gagné, now 35. “For me it represents unity within diversity, it represents strength and resilience, and it represents a hope for something greater than what we have. I really hope that for kids living with disabilities, this inspires them to never stop dreaming, to never listen to somebody who tells them no, and to stand together with people who believe in them.”

Audiences across the country can tune in to the Opening Ceremony live on August 24, airing on CBC/Radio-Canada at 7 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. PT. The ceremony will also be rebroadcast in the evening.

Paralympics Broadcast

Paralympics.ca, August 20, 2021
Graphic credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee

The performances of Canada’s Paralympians will be showcased across Canada like never before this year, with record hours of TV and livestream coverage of the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games available across the Canadian Paralympic Media Consortium, including primary broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will run from August 24 to September 5.

Led by the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), the Canadian Paralympic Media Consortium is composed of broadcast partners CBC/Radio-Canada, AMI, and Sportsnet, and digital partners Twitter, Facebook, and MXZN. The broadcast is made possible through support from corporate partners Toyota, Canadian Tire Corporation, Petro-Canada, and Bell. 

TV Coverage

CBC/Radio-Canada will air more than 120 original hours on TV, the most ever for a Paralympic Games in Canada, commencing with the Opening Ceremony live on August 24 at 7 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. PT.

CBC is set to feature three Paralympic shows per day in the afternoon, primetime, and late night slots. CBC Sports’ Scott Russell will host CBC’s coverage from Toronto, and will be joined by in-studio analyst Summer Mortimer, a four-time Paralympic medallist in Para swimming, as well as wheelchair racing legend Chantal Petitclerc for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be presented with closed captioning and described video and will include American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. Reporter Devin Heroux will be on the ground in Tokyo for CBC.

Radio-Canada will air weekend Paralympic shows hosted by Marie-José Turcotte, while Jean St-Onge and 20-time Paralympic medallist in Para swimming Benoit Huot will be onsite hosting weekday coverage and getting reactions from the athletes in Tokyo. Turcotte will also join the live Opening and Closing Ceremonies broadcasts alongside Paralympian Philippe Gagnon, who won four medals in Para swimming at Sydney 2000.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) will air simulcast-broadcasts of the Paralympic Games daily (pre-prime and primetime). All of AMI’s coverage will be accessible for those with a visual impairment with live described video.

Sportsnet will re-broadcast late night shows on CBC the following morning on Sportsnet One.

Live Streaming

A total of 21 disciplines from 19 sports will also be available for livestreaming, the most ever for a Paralympic Games: Para athletics, Para badminton, boccia, Para cycling (road and track), football 5-a-side, goalball, Para judo, sitting volleyball, Para swimming, Para table tennis, Para triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, Para canoe, Para rowing, Para equestrian, Para archery, and shooting Para sport. Highlights will be available for Para powerlifting, Para taekwondo, and wheelchair fencing.

Livestream and on-demand broadcasts will offer an additional 1000+ hours of competition coverage, and can be found on Paralympic.ca/Tokyo-2020, cbc.ca/tokyo2020 and Radio-Canada.ca/jeux-paralympiques, the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices, the free CBC Gem streaming service, and the Radio-Canada Sports app.

CPC will also premiere two digital shows a day on Facebook and Twitter featuring live competition and top highlights from the day.

Sask at Paralympics

Saskatchewan will send its largest contingent in history to the Paralympic Summer Games with 20 individuals from the province who will represent Canada in Tokyo Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

The Saskatchewan group includes eight athletes, four coaches, two support staff, four officials and two classifiers. Eight athletes is the third most in history for the province, matching the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Saskatchewan had its largest athlete group with 10 in 2004 in Athens and sent nine to Sydney in 2000.  

Wheelchair basketball player from Regina Nik Goncin leads the athlete group in experience as the only Saskatchewan athlete returning to the Paralympics from 2016 Rio. Goncin, now the captain, and Canada finished 11th in 2016. This time he is joined by Garrett Ostepchuk —who is making his Games debut— on the men’s wheelchair basketball roster.

Also attending their first Paralympic Games are Para swimmers Shelby Newkirk and Nikita Ens. Both had strong performances at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championship including Newkirk winning a silver medal and Ens re-setting her own Canadian record.   

Other first time Paralympians include sitting volleyball attacker Julie Kozun, wheelchair fencer in sabre and epee Ryan Rousell, Para cyclist and 2019 Sask Sport Female Athlete of the Year Keely Shaw and wheelchair racer Jessica Frotten, who will compete in six events.

Photos in video provided by Canadian Paralympic Committee and National Sport Organizations.

“I am tremendously proud of Saskatchewan’s athletes, coaches, officials and support staff for their contributions to Team Canada for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Laura Ross said. “Now it is time for our Paralympian’s to continue carrying the torch. To all of our athletes, know that Saskatchewan is behind you.”

The athletes will be joined by four coaches including Frank Gaudet (Para badminton), Eric Kramer (Para swimming), Carla Nicholls (Para athletics) and John Wetzstein (Para rowing). Support staff Marj Walton (Para swimming) and Lynn Seguin (Wheelchair Fencing) and officials Ryan Gaudet (wheelchair rugby), Chris Shore (wheelchair rugby), Launel Scott (goalball) and Sheila Guenther (Para swimming) will also be attending the Games in Tokyo. Two classifiers from Saskatchewan – Julie Bakke (wheelchair rugby) and Louise Ashcroft (sitting volleyball) – will also be travelling to Tokyo.

“The amateur sport community in the province should be proud to see 20 individuals from the province named to the Paralympic Games,” said Lance Dudar, Sask Sport Chair. “These athletes, coaches and officials have made significant commitments to achieve excellence in sport. We celebrate the 20 individuals who will represent our province and country in Tokyo and truly know they have helped to make amateur sport strong. Please continue to follow our online celebration of these individuals and show that you are Sask Proud.”

Join Sask Sport, Sask Lotteries and the Canadian Sport Centre Saskatchewan on cheeronsask.ca for everything you need to know about the Olympics and Paralympics.  The website documents the athletes, coaches, officials and staff from Saskatchewan on their journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, features a comprehensive schedule specific to the Saskatchewan athletes that includes date, times, viewing options and results and will house daily recaps with results and information specific to the Saskatchewan contingent. It will also feature an aggregate of news from the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and National Sport Organizations.

Follow along on social media on @SaskSport, @SaskLotteries and @CSCSaskatchewan and use the hashtag #SaskProud for further updates and information from cheeronsask.ca.

TOKYO PARALYMPIC SUMMER GAMES – SASKATCHEWAN CONTINGENT

ATHLETES
Nikita Ens – Para swimming, S3 50-metre backstroke, S3 100-m freestyle, SM3 150-m individual medley, Meadow Lake
Jessica Frotten – Para athletics, T53 100-, 400-, 1,500-, 5,000- and 4×100-metre relay, Regina
Nik Goncin – Wheelchair Basketball, Regina
Julie Kozun – Sitting Volleyball, Attacker, Melfort
Garrett Ostepchuk – Wheelchair Basketball, Regina
Shelby Newkirk – Para swimming, S6 50- and 100-m freestyle, S6 100-m backstroke, Saskatoon
Ryan Rousell – Wheelchair Fencing, A Sabre and Epee, Asquith
Keely Shaw – Para cycling, C4, Midale

COACHES
Frank Gaudet – Para badminton, Regina
Eric Kramer – Para swimming, Saskatoon
Carla Nicholls – Para athletics, Regina
John Wetzstein – Para rowing, Regina

SUPPORT STAFF
Lynn Seguin – Team manager, Wheelchair Fencing, Saskatoon
Marj Walton – Team support, Para swimming, Regina

OFFICIALS
Ryan Gaudet – Wheelchair Rugby, Bellevue
Sheila Guenther – Para swimming, Regina
Launel Scott –  Goalball, Saskatoon
Chris Shore –  Wheelchair Rugby, Regina

CLASSIFIERS
Louise Ashcroft – Sitting Volleyball, Regina
Julie Bakke –  Wheelchair Rugby, Saskatoon

Kozun headed for Tokyo

Julie Kozun will be making her Paralympic debut with the Canadian women’s sitting volleyball team at the Tokyo Games running Aug. 24 to Sept. 5. 

Kozun, who is the youngest member on the Canadian squad, helped the team to earn its Games’ spot at a last-chance qualifier in Halifax in 2019 and was part of the 2019 Parapan Am Games team that captured a bronze medal. 

Read more about Kozun’s journey to the Paralympic stage on panow.com

Frotten excited for Games

Wheelchair racer Jessica Frotten has “been through every emotion” following her announcement to the Canada’s Para athletics team for the Paralympic Games Aug. 24 to Sept. 5. 

The Regina resident, who was born in Whitehorse, told Global News how excited she is to make the team and travel to Tokyo. 

Frotten will compete in six events in the T53 class at the Games, including the 100-, 400-, 800-, 1,500- and 5000-metre races and the 4×100-m relay. 

Read the full story at globalnews.ca.