Lo­cals shine

Ot­tawa-Gatineau ath­letes come up big at Canada Sum­mer Games

Ottawa Sun - - SPORTS - MARTIN CLEARY — Ken Wiebe

For 80 days in St. Catharines, the On­tario men’s eight with coxswain row­ing team worked to­wards one goal — ex­cel­lence at the Canada Sum­mer Games.

When they shifted to Kenora, Ont., site of the row­ing com­pe­ti­tion more than 200 kilo­me­tres east of the Games’ head­quar­ters in Win­nipeg, the team of nine ac­cel­er­ated its team bond­ing even more. Their ath­letic res­i­dence was in a high school and their rooms were grouped to­gether.

So, when it came time to race Fri­day morn­ing, the On­tario team pulled to­gether like never be­fore and its re­ward was the Canada Games gold medal. On­tario was the only boat to break six min­utes over the 2,000-me­tre course, fin­ish­ing in five min­utes, 53.24 sec­onds, while British Co­lum­bia was sec­ond in 6:00.99 and Al­berta claimed third in 6:07.59.

Car­leton Univer­sity com­merce stu­dent Hunter Ames­bury of Burling­ton had a seat in the On­tario boat and was one of six Ot­tawaGatineau ath­letes to win or share in five medals on the fi­nal day of the first week of two-week Games com­pe­ti­tion. It also was Ames­bury sec­ond gold medal in as many days.

The other medal­lists were Marie-Leati­tia Ziba, Gatineau, girls’ U17 basketball, gold; Julie Chadwick, Ot­tawa, and Tay­lor Feather­stone, Ot­tawa, girls’ U17 basketball, sil­ver; Aaron Wong Sing, Ot­tawa, sail­ing, sil­ver; and Khal­ifa Koula­mal­lah, Gatineau, boys’ U17 basketball, bronze.

“It was an amaz­ing race,” said Ames­bury, adding On­tario tracked down British Co­lum­bia and Al­berta in the first 1,000 me­tres and owned the race in the sec­ond kilo­me­tre. “We’ve been to­gether so long that we’ve de­vel­oped friend­ships with each other. When you row that long to­gether, it’s easy to link up. We didn’t feel stressed or pres­sured.”

The vic­tory was the sec­ond gold medal for Ames­bury, who teamed with Luke Gads­don of Hamil­ton on Thurs­day to win the men’s pair over the same two provinces.

The men’s eight with coxswain was the fi­nal row­ing race of the com­pe­ti­tion and it gave On­tario crews vic­to­ries in six of seven men’s fi­nals. The only blem­ish was British Co­lum­bia beat­ing On­tario in the men’s four.

“We had a goal from the be­gin­ning. We had some­thing to prove. We wanted to show On­tario had strong row­ers even though the na­tional train­ing cen­tre was out West,” Ames­bury added.

“The Canada Games was one goal on my list. Af­ter all the work we put in, it’s good to fi­nally see it pay off.”

Que­bec had a strong fourth quar­ter and de­feated On­tario 70-57 in the girls’ U17 basketball fi­nal. On­tario led 32-30 at half­time.

Chadwick, who will at­tend Robert Mor­ris Univer­sity, an NCAA Di­vi­sion 1 school, in the fall of 2018, con­nected on all six of her two-point, field-goal at­tempts and led On­tario with 13 points, adding five re­bounds and three as­sists. Feather­stone made good use of her 39 sec­onds of play, hit­ting a three-point shot. Ziba didn’t en­ter the game.

Ne­pean Sail­ing Club’s Wong Sing dou­bled his Canada Games medal col­lec­tion by win­ning the sil­ver medal in 2.4m para mixed. Although he spent two hours on the wa­ter Fri­day, the winds were never strong enough to stage ei­ther of the fi­nal two races.

“It was good to win the sil­ver medal be­cause the com­pe­ti­tion was good,” said Wong Sing, 41, who won the bronze medal at the 2013 Games. Aaron Wong Sing of the Ne­pean Sail­ing Club in Ot­tawa won a sil­ver medal at the Canada Sum­mer Games on Fri­day.

Wong Sing, who has Cere­bral Palsy, fin­ished the seven-race re­gatta with two wins, two sec­onds, two fourths and a dis­carded re­sult of a did not fin­ish for 14 points. Joe Ger­lin­sky of North Bat­tle­ford, Sask., won the com­pe­ti­tion with 12 points. Ger­lin­sky, 59, was the 2013 Games sil­ver medal­list.

Koula­mal­lah of Gatineau left the Games with a bronze medal in men’s basketball, when his Que­bec U17 team de­feated British Co­lum­bia 77-56. He played one sec­ond shy of 17 min­utes, scor­ing

KENORA — Emma Gray made it look easy.

Man­i­toba’s flag bearer showed no signs of be­ing over­whelmed by any out­side pres­sure as she worked her way to a gold medal in the fe­male sin­gle scull race at the Kenora Row­ing Club on Rab­bit Lake on Fri­day morn­ing.

Gray, who only started row­ing in 2015 but has al­ready shown Olympic po­ten­tial, found her­self in a tight race af­ter a bit of a rocky start but stuck with it and pulled away down the stretch to win Man­i­toba’s sec­ond gold medal of the Canada Games, fin­ish­ing with a time of 7:57.11, which left her just over three sec­onds ahead of Mar­ilou Du­ver­nay-Tardif of Que­bec and 15 sec­onds ahead of Ivy Elling Quain­tance of B.C.

“I try to ig­nore pres­sure. I def­i­nitely feel it, don’t get me wrong,” said Gray, who was part of Man­i­toba’s quadru­ple sculls bronze medal on Thurs­day and added a sec­ond bronze in fe­male dou­ble sculls on Fri­day morn­ing with Gabriella Yake­mow. “I find that I’ve learned from many rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ences I tend to do well in heats and crash in fi­nals. And I learned that I per­form my best when I don’t try and per­form — when I just go out there and do it.

“It was a re­ally good race. It’s a nice ac­com­plish­ment.” six points, grab­bing seven re­bounds and mak­ing two steals.

In ath­let­ics, Ot­tawa run­ners Nyoka Maxwell and Lind­say Brandys fin­ished in the mid­dle of the pack in the women’s 200 me­tres, plac­ing fourth and fifth re­spec­tively in 24.10 and 24.33. DeOn­dra Green of Pier­re­fonds, Que., won in 23.82.

On­tario, whose ros­ter in­cluded Ot­tawa’s An­gus Adams, dropped the bronzemedal game 5-1 to Al­berta in base­ball.

MARCIA MOR­RIS PHOTO

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