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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WATCH | Canada’s Keely Shaw captures third place:
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.
WATCH | Gagné leads Canada into opening ceremony:
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.
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.
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.
COVID-19: Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Arena among Ontario facilities to see major capacity limit increase – Global News
The Ontario government has announced a major boost of maximum COVID-19-related capacity limits at major outdoor and indoor sporting venues, such as the Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto.
“With public health and health-care indicators currently stable and proof of vaccination now in effect, we are able to recommend cautiously easing capacity limits in certain settings,” Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said in an update Friday afternoon, noting the increases will mostly be in places where vaccine proof is required.
“Increasing capacity limits does not mean we can let our guard down. We must remain cautious and humble in the face of this Delta variant.”
Moore said the revised rules will take effect as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
At indoor meeting and event spaces (convention and conference centres, banquet halls etc.), theatres, cinemas, concerts, sports events, racing venues and commercial TV and film shoots with audiences will be able to increase the number of people in attendance to up to 50 per cent of approved capacity or 10,000 people (whichever is less).
For outdoor event spaces where it is standing room only for patrons, up to 75 per cent of approved capacity or 15,000 people (whichever is less) will now be allowed.
COVID-19: Ontario expands capacity limits for some indoor, outdoor settings
When it comes to outdoor event venues where people are seated, up to 75 per cent of approved capacity or 30,000 people (whichever is less) can now be accommodated.
Officials said seated outdoor venues can see higher numbers of people because mobility is less and therefore it reduces the risk of potential transmission of COVID-19.
The announcement came just a day after the Toronto Blue Jays announced the release of additional seats for the final six home games of the regular season, citing ongoing discussions with Premier Doug Ford’s office and Moore. The team said the increase would be in line with public health measures.
In an update right after Moore’s announcement, the Jays announced the 500L section at the Rogers Centre would be reopening to visitors now that up to 30,000 fans will be permitted to attend.
The current capacity limit at the Rogers Centre under Ontario’s COVID-19 regulations is 15,000 fans. At Scotiabank Arena, the limit was capped at 1,000 fans. Both venues have vaccination policies in place.
When Moore was asked why he is recommending these changes now, he said the COVID-19 situation in Ontario has been stable for several weeks and the province needs to have a “balanced and proportionate public health response” to the pandemic.
“For the majority (of attendees), they will be protected through vaccination, they will be wearing masks, they will be screening and monitoring for any symptoms … and I do think that is a much safer environment that we can start to safely and cautiously open,” he said, calling the recent implementation of vaccine certificates a “game-changer.”
“We’ll monitor these caps over the coming weeks to make sure this process remains safe. I’m confident that we can do this safely, and slowly, and cautiously because we all need balance. We’ve made sacrifices over the last year and a half and so have these businesses, and I think this will allow them to open safely and not be sources of infection or outbreak.”
As for how long vaccine certificates will be needed to access many indoor public settings, Moore suggested the program could be in place until the winter.
He went on to say as part of the provincial government’s gradual approach to reopening, it will assess other settings where capacity limits could be eased. He also pointed to early modelling on cases that suggested there could be a sharp rise of cases after Christmas.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
NBA denies Canadian Andrew Wiggins of religious exemption to skip COVID-19 vaccine – CBC.ca
The NBA has denied Canadian Andrew Wiggins’s request for a vaccination exemption, leaving the Golden State Warriors swingman ineligible to play home games until he meets San Francisco’s vaccination requirement.
The ruling was announced Friday, hours after the New York Knicks said their entire roster is vaccinated, making all their players eligible to play in their home games.
Because of local coronavirus regulations in New York and San Francisco, the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Warriors are required to be vaccinated to play in their home arenas unless exemptions for medical or religious reasons apply.
Wiggins, from Vaughan, Ont., sought an exemption from the league for religious reasons.
“The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’s request for religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all participants age 12 and older at large indoor events,” the league said in a statement.
“Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfils the city’s vaccination requirements.”
NBA says unvaccinated players can play
Unvaccinated players are allowed to play this season, though the NBA has said that they will have to be tested daily on practice and travel days, and at least once — possibly more — on game days. Fully vaccinated players will not be subject to daily testing.
However, the Knicks, Nets and Warriors face stricter rules because of their local regulations, which the NBA has told teams do not apply to visiting clubs.
WATCH | ‘Bring It In’ panel discusses vaccine passports’ effect on sports:
The Knicks are the first of those teams to say they have met the mandate.
Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said earlier this week that a couple players wouldn’t yet be eligible, but he was confident everyone would be able to participate by the time the regular season begins on Oct. 19.
Local mandate not yet in effect
Wiggins still has time, as San Francisco’s mandate doesn’t take effect until the middle of next month. Training camps open Tuesday.
The NBA has struck agreements this off-season to have virtually all parties involved in games — referees, coaches, stat-crew workers and anyone else who will be in close proximity to players on or off the court in NBA arenas — vaccinated in order to participate.
The one exception: The players themselves, with the National Basketball Players Association rebuking all efforts from the NBA to mandate that they be vaccinated. About 85 per cent of players were vaccinated at the end of last season. The league-wide figure is believed to have increased since.
2020 Ryder Cup pairings: U.S. runs it back, Rory McIlroy out for Saturday foursomes – Golf Channel
After his team dug itself a 6-2 hole on Friday at the Ryder Cup, European captain Padraig Harrington had some decisions to make when deciding on his pairings for Saturday morning’s foursomes session.
One pressing question was whether he’d sit Rory McIlroy for the first time in McIlroy’s cup career. McIlroy had played in every session since making his debut in 2010 (26 for 26), but he’d dropped both his team-play matches on Friday at Whistling Straits while failing to reach the 16th hole in either one.
Ultimately, Harrington decided that his visiting side’s best chance at a comeback was to sit McIlroy on Saturday morning.
“We have plenty of options on our team,” Harrington said. “Spoiled for choice in many ways, and yeah … I’m very comfortable again with the team I’ve put out tomorrow. Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team.”
McIlroy and Poulter, who lost in foursomes on Friday morning, will both be benched, while Harrington will mix things up slightly elsewhere, splitting Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland, and pairing them with Tyrrell Hatton and Bernd Wiesberger, respectively. Two of Europe’s foursomes pairings are intact: Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, and Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Meanwhile, on the American side, captain Steve Stricker is going back to the well, keeping all four of his previous foursomes teams. All but Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth won on Friday morning, though Thomas helped lead a four-ball rally alongside Patrick Cantlay on Friday afternoon as the U.S. duo tied Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood.
Cantlay reunites with Xander Schauffele, who is 2-0. Dustin Johnson, also 2-0, reunites with Collin Morikawa.
“We had one other group that we were thinking about putting out, but it went so well this morning that I figured why mess things up and change things up at all,” Stricker said. “We changed the order a little bit is all, but we kept the same pairings.”
The U.S. leads by four points, its largest advantage after Day 1 since 1975. History is on the Americans’ side, too, as just once in five previous instances since 1979 (the year that the Great Britain and Ireland side was expanded to include continental Europe) has a team coughed up a lead of more than three points after the opening day.
Here are the matchups and starting times for Saturday morning’s foursomes session:
8:05 a.m. ET: Koepka/Berger vs. Rahm/Garcia
8:21 a.m.: Johnson/Morikawa vs. Casey/Hatton
8:37 a.m.: Thomas/Spieth vs. Hovland/Wiesberger
8:53 a.m.: Schauffele/Cantlay vs. Westwood/Fitzpatrick
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