“The Americans were stronger than us, but we fought until the end and stayed united as a whole team. We can be proud of ourselves,” summarized wheelchair basketball player Cindy Ouellet, with the silver medal around her neck, after the final of the Parapan American Games on Friday in Santiago.
The Canadian players traveled to Chile with the goal of winning gold and qualifying for the Paralympic Games in Paris, all in memory of their teammate and good friend Maude Jacques, who passed away in early October.
They formed a united and determined team in anticipation of this important competition, which they had won together with Maude in Lima four years earlier.
On Friday, they were just one win away from achieving their goal.
Part of the stand was obviously occupied by American spectators, but they could hardly be heard. Their screams were muffled by the rest of the crowd, who encouraged Canadians and chanted their country’s name.
“I’ve never experienced this before,” said Quebecer Élodie Tessier. It’s always like that in the ups and downs Fun are entitled to such support.
At the end of the first quarter it was 14:12 for the US representatives, who took advantage of Canada’s four turnovers at the start of the game.
Kady Dandeneau came back strong in the second period and tied the game at 22-22. The Americans scored three unanswered baskets, the last coming at the very end of the quarter, giving them a 28-22 lead.
When play resumed, they quickly extended that lead to 34-22. Élodie Tessier came into the game and showed some of the best moves of the game. She slid under the basket twice rather than once while receiving passes from Dandeneau. Their opponents scored again at the last second, giving themselves the lead by 11 points.
The Canadiens, led by head coach Paul Bowes for several weeks, left everything on the floor without recovering. Their opponents took advantage of every important, even decisive, situation in this game to win 62:56.
The many Chilean spectators who sided with Canada were loud from start to finish, even as the Americans received their tickets confirming their qualification for the Paris Paralympic Games. Everyone was probably hoping for a different end to the Canadians’ journey in Santiago.
“We just got our medal and it still screamed Canada,” said Cindy Ouellet, who finished the game with four points, two assists and five rebounds. The people were there for us and that made a big difference.
Rosalie Lalonde had two points and two assists as well as two rebounds. For her part, Élodie Tessier scored eight points, provided three assists and grabbed two rebounds.
We just have to be proud of the game we played and I think tonight we gave 100%. It’s not over yet, we still have one last chance to go to Paris. We must continue our progress and hold our heads high. The last few months haven’t been easy, but we’ve been there to support each other, even in the worst and worst.Tessier announced.
This Paralympic qualifying competition will be presented as a formality by Cindy Ouellet, who was particularly proud of the Canadians’ work, both in Santiago and in the difficult weeks leading up to the Parapan American Games.
“I think it just gets better, especially as we get more practice with our new coach,” she said confidently. We have been building something in the last few months. Our team is very united and that showed in this final. A final that we lost, but where all the girls were there for each other. It was nice to see as a veteran. We haven’t seen that for a long time and it could be dangerous for the other teams in Paris.
More medals of the day
- Women’s goalball team, gold and qualification for the Paris 2024 Games
- Alex Hayward, Gold, Track Cycling, C1-3 Individual Pursuit 3000m
- Mel Pemble, Gold, Track Cycling, C1-3 Individual Pursuit 3000m
- Keely Shaw, silver, track cycling, C4-5 individual pursuit 3000m
- Rob Shaw, silver, wheelchair tennis
- Mike Sametz, bronze, track cycling, C1-3 individual pursuit 3000 m
- Justine Morrier, bronze, swimming, 100m butterfly S14
- Renee Foessel, bronze, athletics, discus throw F38
- Jesse Zesseu, bronze, athletics, long jump T37/38
- Men’s goalball team, bronze
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