DARTMOUTH: Two athletes from the Waverley-based Cheema Aquatic Club helped Canada earn gold on Day 1 of the 2018 Pan Am and Para Pan Am Canoe Sprint Championships, reaching the podium in every race. The competition runs until Sunday on Lake Banook. Team Canada earned nine gold medals, five silver, and one bronze.
The Canadian men’s K4 crew of Cheema’s Marshall Hughes from Waverley, Vincent Jourdenais, Nicholas Matveev and Pierre-Luc Poulin started the day off on a high note with a win in the men’s K4 500m, edging out Argentina by half a second.
“We pulled together as a team and came out with a great race on our home course. It was amazing to be able to be the first race and first gold to set the tone,” said Poulin. “We faced the boats we will need to beat next year for Olympic qualification, so this was a good opportunity to see what we need to do for next year.”
Shortly after, the women’s K4 crew of Courtney Stott, Lissa Bissonnette, Fall River’s Michelle Russell and Maddy Schmidt put on a similar performance, this time besting Mexico to top the podium.
“That race was closer than we would have liked, but it’s all motivation to keep us moving toward next year to qualify for Tokyo,” said Russell.
Other winning performances included: Fernando Dayan Jorge Enriquez and Serguey Torres Madrigal (Cuba), Senior Men C2 1000m; Julian Cartes (Chile), Junior Men K1 1000m; Juan Ignacio Caceres (Argentina), Senior Men K1 500m; Gustavo Adrian Eslava Rosas (Mexico), Junior Men C1 500m; Samantha Stein and Brooklyn Wodehouse (Canada), Junior Women K2 500m; Lindsay Irwin (Canada), Junior Women C1 500m; Evie McDonald and Maika Nadeau (Canada), Junior Women C1 1000m; Samantha Stein (Canada), Junior Women K1 1000m; Maddy Schmidt (Canada), Senior Women K1 1000m; Ivan Alexis Magana Lopez and Oscar Alonso Reyes Garcia (Mexico) Junior Men K2 500m; Mari Mailliard (Chile) Senior Women C1 1000m
With 16 participating countries, the competition continues 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM daily until Sunday, September 16. Fans are encouraged to come out and cheer on Team Canada and elite athletes from across the Americas. Free grandstand seating will be available along Prince Albert Road in Dartmouth and food trucks will be onsite to keep the crowd fueled through the event.