Maple Ridge’s Tristan Smyth knew full well he would have to be at the top of his game if he had any hopes at winning a medal at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
Injured two-and-a-half years ago in a skateboard accident, Smyth has raced out of the blocks as a para wheelchair athlete, winning three golds at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games, only seven months after his injury.
Since then, Smyth has climbed the ranks of para wheelchair sports. Coming into the Games he focused on running smart, clean races, he said.
“I had races against some of these guys before, so I knew what I had to do to succeed,” said Smyth. “But I didn’t focus on winning medals. I just wanted to push myself to do my best.”
His plan worked as Smyth narrowly edged rival Michael Kahn of Ontario by a mere three one-hundredths of a second to capture gold in the 1,500-metre finals on Thursday, Aug. 15.
“I just remember crossing the finish line with my head down, not knowing who had won. I went about halfway around the track for the times were posted. I was so stoked. I couldn’t believe I pulled it off.”
Smyth said he knew he had a chance with 200 metres left in the race. He had kept himself in a position to pull away from the pack and pushed himself to the finish line.
Smyth finished with a time of three minutes and 27.74 seconds. The win over his Ontario rival was his second medal of the day after he won silver in the 400 m final. In that race it was Smyth who couldn’t close the gap in the final moments behind Kahn.
He said halfway through the race, he was 20 metres behind and had his tires just behind his Ontario counterpart but simply ran out of track.
The silver medal time of 52:44 seconds was also a personal best for Smyth in the 400 m.
“I’m a little bigger than most of the people I race against, so my starts are a little slower,” he said. “It’s definitely something I need to work on.”
Ontario, 213; Quebec, 172; B.C., 122; Alberta, 118; Nova Scotia, 56, Sask., 51; Manitoba, 35; New Brunswick, 16; P.E.I., 2, Newfoundand, 2. Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, 0. See web results. http://cg2013.gems.pro/gems
Maple Ridge Secondary’s Jane Grisley helped Team B.C. overcome an 0-2 start to in round robin play as the squad captured silver on the final day of competition Saturday, Aug. 17.
B.C. dropped their opening game of the tournament to Alberta 47-41. They proceeded to lose a nail-bitter to Quebec, 51-49 before the team bounced back with a 64-54 win over Saskatchewan and a 76-42 thumping of P.E.I. Grisley chipped in with five points in 17:38 minutes of floor time in the victory.
Team B.C. then exacted some revenge on Alberta in the semi finals, winning 56-41 for the right to play for gold. However, the team was unable to overcome a slow start to Ontario, falling behind 26-8 after the first quarter en route to a 61-41 loss.
Maple Ridge’s Kevin Kwon probably had a good idea of how his week was going to go after hitting a hole-in-one in his practice round Tuesday at the Milby Golf Club in Sherbrooke, Que.
Kwon followed that up with a 13-shot victory to win the gold medal at the Canada Summer Games. The Swan-E-Set golfer’s strong showing also led B.C. to take top honours in the team competition. He fired a final round 5-under 67 to complete a four-day total of 279. “It feels great to win it for Team B.C. and winning the individual is just the cherry on top,” said Kwon. “The lead was pretty big in the back nine so the whole experience was very uplifting.”
The win came almost three weeks after Kwon won the Canadian Junior Boys Championship in Sudbury. The double-gold win in Sherbrooke came on Kwon’s mother’s birthday. “I guess I can give her one of them to her as a birthday gift,” joked Kwon.
Maple Ridge’s Brian Malfesi won his third medal of the games, taking home a bronze in the K-2 200 m with teammate Patrick Dann on Thursday, Aug. 15. Malfesi won gold in the men’s K-1 1,000 m and silver in the K-1 500 m earlier in the week.
Track and Field
Maple Ridge’s Hodson Harding helped Team B.C. capture silver in the 4 x 400 m relay finals on Friday, Aug. 16. B.C. finished behind Ontario and just ahead of Nova Scotia.