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Friday, October 27, 2000

Canada wins third straight Paralmpic gold medal in women's wheelchair basketball

SYDNEY  -- Canada won its third straight Paralympic gold medal in women's wheelchair basketball Friday with a 46-27 win over Australia.

 The Canadians won gold in Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996. Six of these Canadian team members were in Barcelona and all but two were in Atlanta.

 Canada led by 10 point at the half, playing before an announced sell-out at the SuperDome.

 Ottawa's Chantal Benoit, one of the top wheelchair players of her era, led all scorers with 13 points and added seven rebounds.

 "Our team is very special," Benoit said. "As individuals we are all good at some aspect of the game and we perfect that aspect. I'm proud and lucky to be part of this team."

 Canada finished the day seventh in the overall standings with 77 medals (28 gold, 28 silver, 21 bronze).

 Australia remained in first with 124 medals (50-35-39) while Britain was second with 107 (37-31-39) and Spain third with 94 (34-28-32).

 Meanwhile, Chantal Petitclerc of Montreal won her second gold medal of the Games in the 200 metres. Petitclerc beat double-gold medallist Cheri Becerra of the U.S., who had set a world record at the distance in the morning's semifinal heat.

 "I knew I had to be perfect to win the race," Petitclerc said. "I couldn't allow myself any mistakes against Cheri. I was happy to have an inside lane so I could see the race in front of me and chase rather than be chased."

 Andre Beaudoin of Cowansville, Que., won a bronze medal in the men's wheelchair 100 metres.

 The Canadian swim team continued its dominance in the pool, winning three gold medals and breaking a world record.

 Stephanie Dixon of Caledon, Ont., Adam Purdy of London, Ont., and Walter Wu of Richmond, B.C., won gold to highlight a five-medal Canadian performance.

 Dixon broke her own world record in the women's 100-metre backstroke to earn her fourth gold medal of the Games in a time of one minute 11.04 seconds. Darda Geiger of Sarnia, Ont., was fourth.

 "It's still a shock every single time you win a gold medal," said Dixon. "It's the Paralympics and anything can happen. I would have liked to go under 1:11 but that's tough to do when you have a big lead."

 With one day left in the swim competition, the Canadians have won 38 medals (18-12-8) in the pool.

 In the men's 100 backstroke, Purdy clocked 1:18.14 for a Paralympic record and his first medal of the Games. Swen Michaelis of Germany was second more than three seconds back and Jianhua Yin of China third.

 "It's been a long wait for a medal," said Purdy, 19. "Seeing everybody break world records and win gold medals made me very anxious for the race."

 In the men's 100 backstroke, Wu, a visually impaired swimmer, earned his second gold with a Paralympic record time.

 Benoit Huot of St-Hubert, Que., and Anne Polinario of Toronto added silver and bronze in their respective 100-metre backstroke events.

 In volleyball, the Canadian men lost in the gold-medal game in straight sets to Germany and took silver in Canada's first appearance in standing volleyball.

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