Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jul 26 2015, Page 19

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - July 26, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE B4 winnipegfreepress. com Winnipeg Free Press, July 26, 2015 B4 TORONTO — Hosting the largest Parapan Am Games ever could turn athletes with disabilities into household names and bolster the Paralympic movement in Canada, some involved in the upcoming competition said Saturday. As the Pan Am Games entered their final weekend, organizers set their sights on the Parapan Am Games, which will see more than 1,600 athletes compete in 15 sports between Aug. 7 and 15. It’s the first time the Games will be broadcast on television, a milestone that will “ change the game,” said Rob Snoek, a former Paralympian who will cover the event for the CBC. Seeing Parapan Am athletes compete can challenge preconceptions about disabilities and inspire the next generation of sports stars, Snoek said. “ When you watch a spectator see their first wheelchair basketball game and see somebody fall out of their chair and get right back in in two seconds and go right back on the floor, there’s almost like this sense of respect and awe that goes through them,” he said. “ And when they go to the track and they see a person who in everyday life would be considered disabled and they might feel sorry for them, all of a sudden they see them do something incredible... it removes a lot of barriers in people’s own minds and it opens a lot of eyes.” Chelsey Gotell, a Paralympic and Parapan Am champion volunteering with the Canadian team, said the spotlight could help boost Paralympic sports’ mass appeal, like it did after the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. “ As a Canadian athlete, I’m jealous of that, and that’s something I hope to be able to spread here in Canada,” she said. Canada is sending its largest team ever to battle it out on home ground — 213 competitors, including 11 guides for visually impaired athletes, she said. The team is aiming for a top- three spot to set the stage for next summer’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. All Parapan Am sports are qualifiers for the Paralympics. Organizers, meanwhile, said they hope the excitement over the Pan Am Games carries over to the Parapan Am Games. More than a million tickets were sold for the Pan Am Games despite a sluggish start. Saad Rafi, CEO of the organizing committee, said Parapan Am ticket sales are “ pretty robust” two weeks ahead of the event and the men’s wheelchair rugby final is already sold out. Wheelchair basketball is also expected to be popular. For the first time, an audio guide will be offered to visually impaired spectators at the Parapan Am opening and closing ceremonies, as well as three sports. Games venues also meet or surpass accessibility standards, organizers said. In most venues, more than one per cent of seating is wheelchair- accessible, they said. Entrances, washrooms, concession stands and medical services are also accessible, and accessible transportation options are available, they said. — The Canadian Press By Paola Loriggio Parapan Games could create household names T ORONTO — The Canadian men’s 4x100- metre relay team was disqualified at the Pan American Games on Saturday, denying sprinter Andre De Grasse a third gold medal. Gavin Smellie, De Grasse, Brendon Rodney and Aaron Brown appeared to have won the gold when they crossed the finish line in a Pan Am Games record time of 38.06 seconds. But a protest filed by the United States, Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil over Smellie stepping on the line during the first leg of the race was upheld. It was the second protest filed after the race. An earlier American protest saying Rodney stepped out of his lane was denied. The U. S. moves from silver to gold, with Brazil taking second and Trinidad and Tobago moving up to third. De Grasse won the 100 and 200 metres earlier at the Games. The controversy marred what was otherwise a positive day for Canada’s track and field team. Derek Drouin of Corunna, Ont., won the men’s high jump with a leap of 2.37 metres. Teammate Mike Mason of Nanoose Bay, B. C., was second with a jump of 2.31 metres. Donald Thomas of the Bahamas won bronze at 2.28 metres. Nicole Sifuentes and Sasha Gollish captured silver and bronze in the women’s 1,500 metres. Sifuentes, a 29- year- old from Winnipeg, ran 4: 09.13 seconds. The 33- year- old Gollish, from Toronto, crossed in 4: 10.11, despite running all but 150 metres with her shoe half off. Another runner had clipped the back of it near the start. Muriel Coneo of Colombia won the gold, outkicking Sifuentes down the homestretch to finish in 4: 09.05. Canada’s women’s 4x100 relay of Crystal Emmanuel, Kim Hyacinthe, Jellisa Westney and Khamica Bingham raced to bronze in a time of 43.00. The Americans won in 42.55, followed by Jamaica ( 42.68). The women’s 4x400 relay team of Brianne Theisen- Eaton, Taylor Sharpe, Sage Watson and Sarah Wells capped the night with a bronze. — The Canadian Press Lane violation costs Canada gold De Grasse denied a third top medal when protest upheld FRANK GUNN / THE CANADIAN PRESS Canada’s Andre De Grasse, Gavin Smellie and Brendon Rodney ( from left) celebrate prematurely after thinking they had won gold in the men’s 4x100m relay. Leap of faith Canada’s Jamal Murray tries to keep the ball in bounds during the fourth quarter of the men’s gold- medal game against Brazil at the Pan Am Games Saturday in Toronto. Brazil took the gold with an 86- 71 win. Canada trailed by as much as 25 points and battled back to within six, but Brazil stood firm. With the silver, Canada produced its best basketball result in Pan Am Games history. Its previous top finish at the Games was fourth in 1983. JULIO CORTEZ / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS B_ 04_ Jul- 26- 15_ FP_ 01. indd B4 7/ 25/ 15 11: 13: 02 PM

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