Ottawa-Gatineau athletes come up big at Canada Summer Games
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.