September 10, 2016 - 10:30 AM
RIO DE JANEIRO - Swimmer Aurelie Rivard won Canada's first gold medal at the Paralympic Games, and she did it in commanding fashion.
The 20-year-old from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., won the S10 50-metre freestyle in a world record time of 27.37 seconds on Friday, about an hour after Canada won its first medals of the Games — two silvers in track cycling.
Rivard, competing in her second Paralympic Games, finished ahead of New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe and China's Yi Chen. Rivard had broken the Paralympic record in her qualifying heat in the morning.
"I am not sure I realize it yet," Rivard said. "I don't know whether to laugh, jump or throw up. It's my first event and I've broken the world record and won. I'm in heaven."
Less than an hour later, wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., won Canada's second gold, winning the 100-metres in the T53 classification. Lakatos finished in a Paralympic record 14.43 seconds, ahead of France's Pierre Fairbank and China's Huzhao Li.
"I had a good start then after 30 metres I could see in my peripheral vision that they were falling behind slightly and I told myself to hold on and I made it," said Lakatos. "This is amazing"
Calgary's Alister McQueen followed that up with a silver in men's F44 javelin with a throw of 55.56 metres. Trinidad and Tobago's Akeem Stewart (57.32) won gold and New Zealand's Rory McSweeney (54.99) took bronze.
Earlier Friday, cyclists Ross Wilson and Tristen Chernove earned silver medals in different track disciplines.
Wilson, from Sherwood Park, Alta., lost the men's C1 3,000-metre final to top qualifier Li Zhangyu of China. Chernove, from Powell River, B.C., won Canada's second silver moments later in the C2 3,000 against China's Guihua Liang.
Michael Sametz of Calgary advanced to the bronze-medal race in the C3 3,000 after placing third in qualifying.
Five other para-swimmers also competed in finals on Friday night: Nathan Stein of Surrey, B.C., and Alec Elliot of Kitchener, Ont., in the men's S10 50 freestyle, Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., and Sarah Mehain of Vernon, B.C., in the women's S7 50 freestyle, and Nathan Clement of West Vancouver in the S6 50 butterfly.
In women's goalball, Canada lost its opening game 12-4 to Turkey.
In mixed coxed four rowing, Canada's team of Victoria Nolan, Meghan Montgomery, Andrew Todd, Curtis Halladay and coxswain Kristen Kit were third in their heat to advance to repechage.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016