September 15, 2008
Canadian track star Stilwell
takes 2nd Paralympic gold
Canadian racer Michelle Stilwell captured her second
gold medal of the Paralympic Games with a victory in the women's
100-metre T52 for wheelchair track athletes Monday in Beijing.
Stilwell, from Nanoose Bay, B.C., crossed the line in a world-record
time of 19.97 seconds. Japan grabbed the next two spots as Tomomi
Yamaki (21.00) and Teruyo Tanaka (21.33) won silver and bronze,
Stilwell, 34, a member of the national wheelchair basketball team
that captured gold in Sydney eight years ago, also took gold in
the women's 200 T52 event last week.
Stilwell suffers from chiari malformation, a congenital condition
consisting of structural imperfections in the part of the brain
that controls balance.
She was forced to retire from the national basketball team for
medical reasons. Her current coach, Peter Lawless, encouraged her
to take up wheelchair racing at a coaching clinic, and she began
competing for the Canadian national team in 2006.
On the men's side, Toronto's Jason Dunkerley won a bronze medal
in the 1,500-metre T11 for track and field athletes who are visually
impaired — the same race he earned a silver medal at both
the Athens and Sydney Paralympics.
Grand'Maison continues to shine
Montreal competitor Valérie Grand'Maison continued her stellar
performance in the pool, earning a silver medal in the women's 50-metre
freestyle S13 for swimmers with a visual impairment.
Grand'Maison just missed out on winning her fourth gold medal of
the Games, finishing 3-100ths of a second behind American Kelley
Becherer, who won in a time of 27.85.
The first-time Paralympian has won five medals in Beijing, including
three gold medals, while setting two world records. Winnipeg's Kirby
Côté finished fourth, and Chelsey Gotell, of Antigonish,
N.S., placed sixth.
Canada earned a second medal in the pool in the men's competition
as Montreal swimmer Benoit Huot won a bronze in the 400-metre freestyle
S10 for athletes with a physical disability.
Huot, a four-time gold medallist at the Athens Games in 2004, has
won three medals in Beijing.