Canadian judoka Priscilla Gagné grapples to silver at Paralympics
Track cyclist, former Olympian Kate O'Brien wins silver in women's C4-5 500m final
- Canadian flag-bearer Priscilla Gagné secures Para judo silver in 52kg category.
- Canada's Kate O'Brien races to silver in women's C4-5 500m track cycling event.
- Women's wheelchair basketball improves to 2-0 with 61-35 rout over host Japan.
Only a few days after carrying the Canadian flag into the opening ceremony, Priscilla Gagné has captured a silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
The 35-year-old grappled her way to the gold-medal match in her 52-kilogram category at the Nippon Budokan on Friday.
While it was Algeria's Cherine Abdellaoui who claimed first place, the Canadian finally captured a spot on the podium — an achievement that was just out of reach five years ago in Rio.
"Definitely going in with high hopes, definitely going in with realistic plans for each fight and really expecting, just trusting my training because the work has already been put in," Gagné said ahead of the competition.
"I had really great competitions after Rio. Just narrowly missing the bronze really motivated me to continue the journey and to really work on strategy and taught me to just never give up because even at the last second, things could change."
WATCH | What you missed on Day 3 of the Paralympics:
Judo at the Paralympics is contested by those with visual impairment. Gagné herself was born with retinitis pigmentosa, and with four degrees of peripheral vision is considered blind.
The Canadian had a bye to the quarter-finals, where she defeated Alesia Stepaniuk of the Russian Paralympic Committee.
Then Gagné had a spectacular performance on the tatami in the semifinal against Germany's Ramona Brussig.
The Canadian won by two waza-ari in a matter of 33 seconds, booking her ticket to the final and guaranteeing a medal — it was only a question of silver or gold.
Her Algerian opponent got on the board about a minute into the match by throwing Gagné down onto her shoulder. A second waza-ari for Abdellaoui secured her the win, just one day before her 23rd birthday.
WATCH | Canada's flag-bearer Gagné captures Para judo silver:
Former Canadian Olympian earns silver at velodrome
Canadian track cyclist Kate O'Brien has won a silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in the women's C4-5 500-metre time trial.
O'Brien, 33, of Calgary, posted a blistering factored-time of 35.439 seconds at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka, Japan on Thursday.
Kadeena Cox of Great Britain successfully defended her Paralympic title and won gold, while Caroline Groot of the Netherlands took the bronze.
"The race today was definitely harder than I anticipated," O'Brien said. "I felt like the start was pretty good and the last half lap I just didn't quite have it in me but that's ok.
"It's an amazing feeling being here with everyone and coming back after my injury four years ago. ... it sort of blows my mind that I'm back on the track and doing the sport that I love."
Cox posted a C4 world record of 34.433 seconds, breaking the one set by O'Brien on home soil at the 2020 world championships.
"It's just a ride," Cox could be heard saying ahead of heading out to the track.
WATCH | Canada's Kate O'Brien wins silver in her Paralympic debut:
The event combines athletes of different levels of impairment. Since Cox and O'Brien are both in class C4, their official times are 98.91 per cent of their real-time marks.
Groot's time of 35.599 seconds is a C5 world record.
O'Brien, the reigning C4 world champion, captured the third medal for Canada in Para cycling in Tokyo.
The Canadian started out as a bobsledder and represented the country at the 2013 world championships. She switched over to cycling and found her rhythm, competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
One year later, O'Brien was nearly killed in a crash at a velodrome in Calgary. She was left with a serious brain injury, punctured lung, cracked ribs, and broken clavicle.
While doctors warned that she may never walk, cycle, or speak properly again, O'Brien proved them wrong.
She secured the silver in her Paralympic debut.
WATCH | O'Brien receives her hardware:
Canadian Para cyclist Tristen Chernove was on the starting list for the men's C1-3 1,000-metre time trial, but withdrew from the competition.
Canada loses thrilling sitting volleyball opener
The women's sitting volleyball tournament began with a classic.
Canada opened its campaign with a thrilling five-set contest against Brazil that resulted in a narrow defeat.
The Canadians took the opening set 25-21 before dropping the ensuing two, as Brazil captured a close second set before confidently claiming the third.
Canada would go on to exhibit great poise in the fourth set to win 29-27, forcing a fifth and decisive final round.
After the sides nervously traded match point, Brazil would come out on top in a memorable 17-15 final set.
"We just took the third-place team from Rio to the verge. We're hungry. There's a lot more volleyball ahead of us here" said team captain Danielle Ellis following the match.
Look at that score line. <br><br>A memorable match between Canada and Brazil to open the women’s sitting volleyball tournament. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Paralympics?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Paralympics</a> <a href="https://t.co/McmxGWNvsy">pic.twitter.com/McmxGWNvsy</a>—@Devin_Heroux
The match proved to be an important showcase for the sport, days after CBC Sports announced it had extended its coverage plans to include women's sitting volleyball.
The women's team will next face Italy at 1 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Canadian swimmers come up just short
Swimming in the S14 200-metre freestyle, Canada's Nicholas Bennett and Angela Marina made their first Paralympic-finals appearances on Friday in Tokyo.
Bennett, 17 of Parksville, B.C., recorded a speedy time of one minute 56.52 seconds to place sixth. That's quicker than the time he set in his heat earlier in the day of 1:58.49.
He previously missed the 100-metre butterfly final, and entered his first medal chance as an underdog, besting two of the final eight contenders.
Marina also came sixth on the women's side of the discipline after finishing her race in a time of 2:15.43.
The 22-year-old of Cambridge, Ont., had likewise bettered her performance after recording the sixth-fastest qualifying time of 2:16.19.
Like Bennett, she is making her Paralympic debut and previously failed to advance to the 100-metre butterfly final.
The S14 category is reserved for athletes with an intellectual impairment.
WATCH | 5 Canadian Paralympians you should know:
Canada also had a pair of competitors racing in the women's SM7 200-metre individual medley, Danielle Dorris and Camille Bérubé.
Dorris, who made her Paralympic debut at 13 years old in Rio and is back in Tokyo for her second Games, nearly found the podium. She recorded a time of three minutes 3.16 seconds — just five hundredths of a second off the bronze medal.
The Moncton, N.B., native was fourth-fastest overall in qualifying and won her heat after American Julia Gaffney was disqualified.
Bérubé, the 26-year-old in her third Paralympics, touched the wall in 3:03.91 for fifth place.
WATCH | Canadians Dorris, Berube narrowly miss SM7 200m IM podium:
Both swimmers posted top-eight qualifying times to reach the final. Since only nine athletes were originally entered in the competition prior to qualifying, the disqualification meant all eight moved on to the medal race.
Canada's Matthew Cabraja failed to advance past qualifying in the men's S11 50-metre freestyle.
Wheelchair basketball women win again
Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team routed host Japan 61-35 on Friday at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Canada raced to an early lead and was up 31-14 by halftime to improve to 2-0 after its second of four group-play games. Japan fell to 2-1 with the loss.
Kady Dandeneau followed up her 32-point performance against Great Britain with a team-high 19 against Japan, adding eight rebounds and five assists in the process.
WATCH | Canadian women defeat host nation Japan:
Arinn Young and Cindy Ouellet also contributed 10-rebound double-doubles, with the former adding 13 points and the latter 10.
Canada's next game is on Saturday at 4 a.m. ET against Germany. The top four teams in each group reach the quarter-finals, when the tournament shifts to single-game knockouts.
Men's team suffers overtime loss
Meanwhile, the Canadian men's wheelchair basketball team pushed its game against Turkey into overtime, but lost 77-73 for its second defeat of the tournament.
Though Canada managed to come back from a seven-point deficit to grab the lead in the third quarter, Turkey turned it around again.
With six seconds left, Canada tied it up — Patrick Anderson tossing it over to a calm and collected Nikola Goncin who made the shot. The teams went into five minutes overtime, where Turkey sealed its win.
Goncin was Canada's top scorer, with 33 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists for the triple-double. Anderson had a 24-point game with 22 rebounds.
The men's next game is Saturday at 1:45 a.m. ET, where they take on Japan.
Athletics competition begins
Charlotte Bolton was Canada's first athlete to compete in athletics at the Tokyo Paralympics, finishing fifth in the women's F41 shot put.
41-year-old Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., finished second in his men's T54 5,000m heat on Friday morning, qualifying him for the final at 7:24 a.m. ET on Saturday.
Canada's Brent Lakatos finishes second in the Men's 5000m -T54 Round Heats 🇨🇦 <a href="https://t.co/wXYGJsTWoM">pic.twitter.com/wXYGJsTWoM</a>—@cbcsports
The 18-year-old managed to squeak into the final with a third throw of 8.08 metres, and gradually improved upon that number until her sixth and best throw of 8.99.
But it wasn't enough to reach the podium on a day when Tunisia's Raoua Tilili, the defending champion, set a world record of 10.55 to win gold once again.
Bolton, of Tillsonburg, Ont., is making her Paralympic debut. She'll also compete in the F41 discus throw.
The F41 category is for athletes with short stature.
With files from Christine Rankin, Myles Dichter, Dion Caputi