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September 27, 2004

Canada bounces back for bronze in women’s wheelchair basketball

ATHENS - The Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team put aside its disappointment at not making the final and won the bronze medal on Monday with a 63-47 victory over Germany at the Paralympic Games.

Chantal Benoit of Orleans, Ont., Canada’s flag bearer in the opening ceremonies, led the offence with 19 points. Linda Kutrowski of Ottawa and Sabrina Pettinicchi of Montreal added 12 each. Benoit and Kutrowski completed their sixth Paralympics and were part of the Canadian teams that won gold at the last three Games.

“We were very depressed after losing to the Americans in the semis,” said Benoit. “But we got ourselves back together and told ourselves we’re going to show everybody how good we are in this game. Still it’s hard to watch the gold medal game now and not be in it. But that’s sport.”

“All the teams came here to play,” added Kutrowski. “In this kind of competition, one is not allowed to make any mistakes. We made some and it cost us. Fortunately, we made our comeback and had a strong finish. We have the Gold Cup in 2006 and a big challenge to get back on top.”


In the women’s road combined for visually impaired Shawn Marsolais of New Westminster, B.C., and her pilot Lisa Sweeney of Langley, B.C., were seventh overall.

“We’re a little disappointed we missed the top half of the field by one spot,” said Marsolais. “It’s pretty clear this week that we need to work on our speed. But for my first Games it’s good to know that I’m near the middle of the field.”

Sweeney is a competitive rider who hooked up with Marsolais last year. “Going to the Paralympics has changed my life,” she said. “It’s a real inspiration to see these people tackle life’s challenges head on. Everybody has an incredible story here.”

Based on gold medals, Canada has climbed to an impressive third in the medal standing with 27 gold, 19 silver and 24 bronze for 70 overall. The Games end on Tuesday. Canada plays Australia in the men’s wheelchair basketball final while Gauthier and Kabush will also vie for a medal.

What Canada did



B1-3 tandem road and time trial combined: 7. Shawn Marsolais, New Westminster, B.C., and Lisa Sweeney, Langley, B.C., 2:06:56.



S13 50 freestyle: 1. Kirby Cote, Winnipeg, 28.47; 3. Chelsey Gotell, Antigonish, N.S., 29.00; 9. Rhea Schmidt, Winnipeg, 30.66.

4X100 medley relay



T54 200 final : 1. Chantal Petitclerc, Montreal, 28.95; 5. Jessica Matassa, Windsor, Ont., 30.93.



Bronze medal game: Canada 63-Germany 47. Canada wins bronze.



reprinted with permission

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