(Tokyo) O’Reilly Rivard won Canada’s first gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The 25-year-old swimmer from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu broke her own world record in the heats and final in the S10 100m freestyle on Saturday.
Quebec’s Brent Lakatos added a silver to the Canadian track record in the T54 5,000m.
So Canada won eight medals in its first four days of activity in Tokyo.
Rivard, born with an underdeveloped left hand, hit the wall in 58.14 seconds, more than two seconds ahead of Dutchman Chantal Ziederfeld.
Rivard flushed his face, overwhelmed with emotion, before hitting the water with both hands.
“This is probably one of the best technical swimming of my career,” said Rivard. It’s so special to win the gold today, as it happened to me on the first day. I thought I could win the gold (in the 50m freestyle), but I didn’t.
“To come back and be able to give my best, especially after the year we’ve all been through, with nothing in terms of competition, it’s totally unrealistic what just happened.”
Rivard finished third in the 50m freestyle earlier this week. She had won the gold at that distance five years earlier at the Rio Paralympics and was crying in an interview that day after she settled for the bronze.
Rivard now has seven Paralympic medals in his group. She was the flag bearer of Canada at the 2016 closing ceremony in Rio after winning three gold medals.
The Tokyo Paralympics is Rivard’s first competition since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We may have had five sim races (during the pandemic), but it wasn’t really a sim,” she said. I was swimming against myself. My coach could keep an eye on me, but no one else was there. I had to ignore the fact that I was alone, even though there were other people around me in the pool. ”
So Revard focused on his style.
“That got me excited. Otherwise, it would have been hard to keep going mentally.”
Also in the pool, Gatineau’s Camille Birobi finished eighth in the SB6 100m breaststroke.
For his part, Lakatos got the money to start his busy schedule in Tokyo. 41-year-old Lakatos from Dorval plans to race all distances – 100m, 400m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m and the marathon.
On Saturday, he took the lead by a few laps, but was overtaken by Swiss Marcel Haug at the finish line.
“I was very happy with my position (up front) because I had room to accelerate,” said Lakatos. I had no risk of falling behind a competitor. I should have been able to resist, but it’s too hot in here. (Hug) In an exceptional case. ”
Lakatos earned eight medals in his group in five Paralympics. Saturday, however, is his first in a long-distance race.
Guillaume Ouellet, of Victoriaville, finished fifth in the 5,000m for the T13 athletes, who have a vision problem.
In addition, Jessica Tomilla placed fifth in the triathlon with her mentor Marianne Hogan.
In dressage, the Canadian team made up of Lauren Barwick, Winona Hartvixon and Roberta Sheffield are ahead after day one, but with several teams not yet involved.
The Canadians scored 211,699 points, ahead of Singapore (200,792) and the United Kingdom (154,254).
Canada finished the wheelchair rugby championship with a 57-49 victory over France to finish fifth. Zach Madell appeared the charge with 31 attempts.
In a duel between undefeated teams, the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team lost 59-57 to Germany 59-57.
Kady Dandeneau was the most productive for Canada (2-1) with 23 points.
The men’s team is still looking for its first win after losing 62-56 to Japan.
The Canadian women’s goal soccer team lost 4-3 to Australia to drop to 1-2. Emma Rinke of St. Thomas, Ontario provided two goals.
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