SANTIAGO, Chile — Vancouver table tennis player Stephanie Chan won Canada’s inaugural medal at the 2023 Parapan American Games on Saturday, while swimmer Ruby Stevens secured the nation’s first gold.
Chan, Canada’s oldest athlete in Santiago at 66, clinched a bronze medal when she lost her S6-7 combined class semifinal match to Giselle Munoz of Spain 11-1, 11-4, 11-3 on the official first day of competition.
’Today I wasn’t feeling well,” said Chan, who will undergo heart surgery after the Games. ‘’I had some problems with my breathing. (Giselle) played well but this heart problem did not allow me to play a lot this year.’’
Munoz will meet Claudia Perez of Mexico in the gold-medal match. Perez, the defending champion, received a bye to final because she was first in the preliminary round.
Chan is now a six-time medallist at the Parapan Am Games, including one gold, two silver, and three bronze.
‘’I’m so excited about the medal,” she added. ‘’After surgery I’ll come again to practice table tennis and be at the next Parapan Ams.’’
Canadian team coach Dejan Papic lauded Chan’s courage.
‘’She found the strength to compete once again for the Canadian team,’’ said Papic. ‘’Considering her condition at these Games this may have been her best achievement. She did much more than we expected.’’
Chan can add to her medal haul later this week when she competes in mixed doubles with Asad Hussain Syed of Toronto.
STEVENS STRIKES GOLD
Stevens, a 21-year-old newcomer to international para swimming, set a Parapan Am Games record in the women’s S6 100-metre backstroke final.
The Toronto swimmer finished the race in one minute 30.41 seconds, nearly four seconds faster than silver medallist VianneyTrejo of Mexico.Megan Gioffreda of the United States claimed bronze.
Stevens shattered the previous Parapan record of 1:33.03 set by Colombia’s Sara Varga at the 2019 Games in Lima, Peru.
Tyson MacDonald, of Woodstock, Ont., gave Canada a third medal on Saturday when he swam to bronze in the men’s S14 200 freestyle in time of 2:01.61.
Gabriel Bandeira of Brazil won gold, while Colombia’s Juan Garcia claimed silver.
The 27-year-old MacDonald won gold, silver, and bronze at the 2019 Games.
CANADIAN WOMEN WIN HOOPS OPENER
Also Saturday, Canada opened the women’s wheelchair basketball competition with a convincing 61-44 win over Brazil.
Kady Dandeneau, of Pender Island, B.C., put on a dominating display with 25 points, 17 rebounds, three steals and five assists.
Arinn Young, of St. Albert, Alta., and Quebec City’s Cindy Ouellet each contributed 10 points.
Canada’s next game will be against El Salvador on Sunday.
Canada has a total of 135 athletes in Santiago, competing in 14 different sports.
The Games continue until Nov. 26.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2023.
The Canadian Press