Canada's swimming champ Aurélie Rivard wins bronze in S10 50-metre freestyle
Track cyclist Keely Shaw captures bronze for Canada's 1st medal at Games
- Star Canadian swimmer Aurélie Rivard captures bronze in S10 50m freestyle
- Track cyclist Keely Shaw wins bronze in C4 3,000m IP; Canada's first medal of Tokyo Paralympics
- Australia's Paige Greco wins C1-3 3,000m pursuit, claims first gold medal of Games
Canadian world-record holder and five-time Paralympic swimming medallist Aurélie Rivard won a bronze medal in the women's S10 50-metre freestyle final at the Tokyo Paralympics on Wednesday.
Rivard, who won gold in the event at Rio 2016, was unable to repeat as champion. The Canadian finished in a time of 28.11 seconds.
"Just standing on the podium at the Games is something really special regardless of the position and the colour of the medal," Rivard said after the final. "This said, I didn't have a bronze medal in my collection and I didn't really want one. I didn't have a good race but the girls deserve the gold and silver medals."
WATCH | CBC Sports' Jacqueline Doorey recaps Day 1 of the Tokyo Paralympics:
Instead, it was Anastasiia Gontar of the Russian Paralympic Committee who took the gold, racing to the finish in 27.38 seconds. Chantalle Zijderveld of the Netherlands won silver.
"Of course I wanted to win my title back, which is disappointing, but I'm going to deal with that later. I'm not a sprinter, it's not my best event. That's not what I've been training for all year long," Rivard said.
"I need to leave this one in the past and not let it affect my next races."
Rivard is Canada's most decorated female Paralympian in Tokyo after winning four medals in Rio. But she entered Tokyo after having not competed in a meet for 18 months due to the pandemic.
She earlier placed second in her heat at 27.74 seconds — more than half a second slower than her world-record time of 27.37 seconds.
WATCH | Canadian Aurélie Rivard swims to S10 50m freestyle bronze:
Canada's Keely Shaw surges to bronze
Canada's Keely Shaw raced to a bronze-medal finish in the women's C4 3,000-metre individual pursuit — becoming the first Canadian to earn a medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Competing against Australia's Meg Lemon, the 27-year-old from Saskatoon crossed the finish line in a time of three minutes 48.342 seconds on Wednesday at the Izu Veldrome in Shizuoka, Japan.
"I was a little bit disappointed with my performance after the qualifiers, I knew I had more in my legs than what I put on the track," Shaw said following the race. "I definitely left it all out there for the bronze medal race and that's when it really mattered."
While Lemon shot off fast, the Canadian athlete grabbed the lead on the track. The Australian finished behind her in a time of 3:49.972.
WATCH | Canada's Keely Shaw captures third place:
Shaw is making her Paralympic debut after taking up Para cycling in 2016. She quickly distinguished herself, grabbing second at 2019 worlds in the event.
"I'm so excited to be able to show off all the work the entire team has done in the last five years and have that come out with a bronze medal for Canada," Shaw said.
She played ice hockey before a 2009 accident when she fell off a horse, resulting in left-side paralysis. Shaw says her hockey history gave her the lower-body strength to excel in Para cycling.
The Canadian entered the race after posting the third-best qualifying time earlier in the day — a personal-best time of 3:49.032.
Australia's Emily Petricola won gold after setting a world record in the qualifier at three minutes 38.061 seconds. American Shawn Morelli claimed silver.
WATCH | Shaw receives her bronze medal:
Back in the pool
Meanwhile, Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon missed out on the women's S6 50-metre butterfly final by three one-hundredths of a second. Her time of 35.50 seconds was sixth in her heat and ninth overall. The top eight reach the medal race.
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Newkirk, 25, will also hop in the pool for the 100-metre freestyle and 100-metre backstroke in Tokyo.
Canada's youngest Paralympian, 17-year-old Nicholas Bennett, failed to advance out of qualifying in the men's S14 100-metre butterfly. The Parksville, B.C., native placed sixth in his heat in 58.38 seconds.
Bennett, who won four medals at the 2019 Parapan Am Games including three gold, will also race the 100-metre breaststroke, 200-metre freestyle and 200-metre individual medley in Tokyo.
Canadian Angela Marina, swimming in the women's S14 100-metre butterfly, also missed the final after her time of 1:12 to finish fifth in her heat.
Fellow Canadian Alec Elliott won't swim for a men's S10 50-metre freestyle medal after also placing fifth in his heat at 25.22 seconds.
Canadian wheelchair fencers eliminated
Canada's Pierre Mainville reached the Round of 16 in the wheelchair fencing sabre event.
Despite winning just one of five bouts, the 48-year-old snuck into the Round of 16, where he lost to France's Maxime Valet.
Mainville, of St-Colomban, Que., is partaking in his fourth consecutive Paralympics and was looking to win his first medal. His best finish is seventh place.
Matthieu Hebert and Ryan Rousell went winless in their own preliminary action, missing out on quarter-finals.
Hebert, 53, of Beauharnois, Que., suffered the same preliminary-round exit at his Paralympic debut in 2016.
Saskatoon's Rousell, 24, made his Games debut in Tokyo.
Canadian wheelchair fencer Sylvie Morel, 64, made her return to the Paralympics for the first time since 2012. She suited up in the women's individual sabre Category A event, but lost her four bouts.
Morel also competed in 2000 and is Canada's oldest athlete at Tokyo 2020.
Canada drops goalball, men's rugby openers
Canada has lost its first match of the women's goalball preliminary round with a 5-1 defeat by the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC.)
Canada was held scoreless heading into the second half, with RPC already securing three goals. The team scored twice more before Emma Reinke — 23-years-old from St. Thomas, Ont. — notched the lone point for Canada and got on the board in her Paralympic debut.
The women are on the medal hunt after winning bronze at the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games. Canada placed sixth in Rio 2016.
The team next plays Israel on Thursday in Tokyo.
WATCH | Goalball squad falls to Russian Paralympic Committee:
The Canadian men's wheelchair rugby team was also unable to defeat rival Great Britain in its opener at the Yoyogi National Stadium.
Britain got a two-point lead over Canada after the first quarter, and stretched it to three points for the majority of the game. The team kept that spread to beat Canada 50-47.
Rugby star Zak Madell, 27 of Okotoks, Alta., made a whopping 31 tries for the Canadians. They'll face the United States on Thursday.
WATCH | Canadian wheelchair rugby team drops 1st match:
1st medal of Games
Cyclist Paige Greco of Australia claimed the first gold medal of the Tokyo Paralympic Games, winning the C1-3 3,000-metre pursuit on Wednesday on the velodrome track. Wang Xiaomei of China was second and bronze went to Denise Schindler of Germany.
It was the first of 24 gold medals up for grabs on Wednesday.
Greco was born with cerebral palsy, which mostly affects the right side of her body. It was her first Paralympic Games medal.
"It feels amazing," Greco said. "I still can't believe it. I keep looking down and seeing [the gold medal]. It's not really sunk in yet."
Canada gets win in wheelchair basketball
Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team emerged with a 73-54 victory over Great Britain in its first game of the round robin on Wednesday.
It was a tight contest, with Great Britain only having a slight edge of 29-26 at the half-time mark.
But it was the Canadian squad who shone for the remainder of the game, building a substantial lead in the fourth quarter while the 2018 world championship silver medallists trailed behind.
WATCH | Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team wins opener:
Kady Dandeneau, 31, from Pender Island, B.C., had a spectacular 32-point game, while fellow Canadian Rosalie Lalonde scored 20 points.
Canada will next take on the host nation, Japan, on Friday.
COVID-19 cases in the Village
Away from the competition, organizers confirmed Wednesday that two more athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Paralympic Village. That brings to three the total of positive tests by athletes in the village over the last two days.
Organizers have confirmed nine positive tests in the village over the last three days. The additional six, who are not athletes, are described as "Games-related personnel."
Organizing committee spokesman Masa Takaya said the athletes were "from different sports and different countries." But he gave few details and said the athletes have been placed in isolation.
Japan is expanding its coronavirus state of emergency for a second week in a row, adding several more prefectures as a surge in infections, fuelled by the delta variant, strains the country's health care system.
Dr. Shigeru Omi, top medical advisor for the government, criticized International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach for returning to Tokyo to attend Tuesday's opening of the Paralympics.
Update on Afghan athletes
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) spokesman Craig Spence confirmed the IPC is in contact with two Paralympic athletes from Afghanistan who have left the country. He declined to speculate whether they might eventually reach Tokyo for the Paralympics.
"There's a lot of speculation going on where these Afghan athletes are," Spence said. "I'm not going to tell you where they are because this isn't about sport, this is about human rights and keeping people safe."
He added they were in a "safe place."
Several reports say the two athletes — Hossain Rosouli and Zakia Khudadadi — may have arrived in Australia.
With files from Christine Rankin, Myles Dichter, The Associated Press