Montreal swimmer Benoit Huot won gold in the men's 200-metre individual medley at the Paralympics Games in London on Thursday, giving Canada its first medal of the Games.
Huot picked up his ninth career Paralympic swimming gold by breaking his own world record with a time of two minutes 10.01 seconds. His previous mark was 2:10.26, set at the Paralympic trials this past March in Montreal.
The 28-year-old won four bronze medals in Beijing four years ago.
"What happened in Beijing four years ago gave me that energy to come back for another four years," Huot said in a statement released by Canadian Paralympic Committee. "It was actually the best four years of my training. I'm most proud of … the process I took to get here where I am today."
Huot's teammate Isaac Bouckley of Whitby, Ont., was in the same final race Thursday but was disqualified for an illegal kick on the butterfly leg.
In other pool events:
- Summer Mortimer of Ancaster, Ont., clocked 2:32.08 to finish second in the S10 200 IM. "This sets me up well for [Friday] for the 50 freestyle," she said.
- Aurelie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., was sixth in a personal best 2:37.70.
- Victoria's Brianna Nelson placed eighth in the women's S7 100 backstroke in 1:30.17.
Men's Wheelchair Basketball
Patrick Anderson was a one-man show for the Canadian men as he scored all of his team's 16 first-quarter points and the first 23 points for Canada in its 68-53 win over Japan in the first game for both squads.
The Fergus, Ont., native finished with a game-high 32 points and 13 rebounds, going 15-for-21 from the field. Anderson nearly matched his career-best 35-point output in a semifinal win over the Netherlands at the 2004 Paralympics.
"In terms of effort and focus, I think we met our goals," said Anderson, who also set a Canadian men's Paralympic record for most two-pointers in a game with 15. His previous high was 14, set against Great Britain in 2000.
Canadian co-captain David Eng said his team had a good game plan, played strong defensively and made good use of its edge in height.
Bo Hedges of Wonowon, B.C., chipped in 12 points for Canada, with Montreal's Yvon Rouillard adding six.
Next up for the Canadians is a Friday date versus Great Britain at 4:15 p.m. ET. Canada recently took three games in a four-game series against its opponent.
Marie-Claude Molnar of Ste-Adele, Que., narrowly missed the podium in the women's individual pursuit, placing fourth.
"I am very happy today. I lowered my personal best at sea level by more than five seconds," Molnar said after the race.
Event winner Susan Powell of Great Britain shattered Molnar's world mark of four minutes 5.403 seconds in the morning qualification.
In men's tandem, Canada's Daniel Chalifour and Alexandre Cloutier was seventh in the individual pursuit with a time of 4:28:648.
Calgary's Brayden McDougall was the top Canadian in the men's kilo races, finishing 12th in the C1-3. Saskatchewan's Arnold Boldt, competing in his fifth Paralympics, was 25th and Calgary's Jaye Milley 26th.
"This was the very first race of my Paralympic Games," Milley said. "I am completely satisfied. I destroyed the track and did everything I could."
Karen Van Nest of Wiarton, Ont., and Norbert Murphy of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., each placed sixth in their respective events to advance to Friday's quarter-final round. Van Nest was competing in women's open compound bow and Murphy in compound bow, men's W1.
Also advancing was Kevin Evans (Jaffray, B.C.) and Robert Hudson (Leoville, Sask.) in men's open compound bow, while Lyne Tremblay will participate in Friday's elimination round in recurve bow, W2.
In Para-Dressage, Lauren Barwick of Aldergrove, B.C., rode Off to Paris to a score of 72.095 per cent for third spot in a field of 23 in the Grade 2 team test.
Ashley Gowanlock, who hails from Surrey, B.C., was eighth of 15 riders in the Grade 1B team test (67.955 per cent).
Belgium doubled Canada 4-2 in preliminary action. The Canadians will play Iran Friday at 2:45 p.m. ET.
In the 60-kilogram division, Justin "The Badger" Karn ended up seventh following his three-fight performance.
Impending retirement has done little to dim the lofty ambitions of Natalie du Toit, one of the most decorated athletes competing at the Paralympics.
Since losing her left leg in a motor scooter accident 11 years ago, the South African swimmer hasn't stopped pushing the boundaries of disabled sport.
First, she qualified to race in a final for non-disabled swimmers at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and then she became the first amputee to compete in an Olympic Games, in 2008.
Now, in her last major competition before quitting swimming to study, Du Toit is attempting to win a staggering seven gold medals in the pool to add to the 10 she already has from the Athens and Beijing Paralympic Games.
She has started well.
On Thursday, she used a strong final 50 metres to win the S9 women's 100 butterfly on the opening day of the games, in a time of one minute, 9.30 seconds. That wasn't one of seven world records set in the Aquatics Centre that kicked off the 10-day meet but for an athlete who prefers the longer, strength-based events, Du Toit was more than satisfied.
"It's great to have that one over," Du Toit said, minutes after leaving the pool to giant roars. "It's the last time I'll swim the 100-meter butterfly — that's the third [Paralympic] final and three golds. Tomorrow's the 100-metre backstroke, which I think is more of a challenge. I have to concentrate on that one now."
The events will certainly come thick and fast for Du Toit. Assuming she reaches the final in each of the other six disciplines — the 50, 100 and 400 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke and another category in the 100 butterfly — she will be competing in 12 races over the next seven days.