Paralympic wake-up call: Canada races to gold, bronze with impressive times at Games

Canadian athletes are rising to the occasion in Tokyo, delivering the performances of a lifetime. 

Danielle Dorris of Moncton, N.B., blew the competition away in the pool, breaking a world and Paralympic record two times in the same day to win her first-ever gold medal at the Games. 

The 18-year-old established a tremendous lead off the blocks in the final of the S7 50-metre butterfly, pushing through the water to drop the record mark to 32.99 seconds. Dorris adds the gold to a silver she also earned in Tokyo. 

Marissa Papaconstantinou of Toronto also raced to her first Paralympic medal, throwing down a personal best time of 13.07 seconds in the T64 100-metre dash.

The Toronto runner gave the race all she had — when she approached the finish line, the 21-year-old hinged at the waist and beat out the competition to secure the bronze medal.

Canadians have won a total of 20 medals at these Tokyo Paralympic Games so far.

Read more about Dorris’s phenomenal swim to claim gold here and Papaconstantinou’s resiliency to earn bronze here

WATCH | Dorris breaks own world record to claim gold Paralympic medal:

Canada’s Danielle Dorris breaks her own world record to win 1st Paralympic gold

Moncton, N.B. native Danielle Dorris swims to her first Paralympic gold medal following the women’s 50m butterfly S7 final. 4:03

WATCH | Papaconstantinou wins bronze with personal best time in 100m dash:

Toronto’s Marissa Papaconstantinou races to 1st Paralympic medal

Canadian Para athlete Marissa Papaconstantinou claims bronze in the women’s T64 100m final. 4:45

Here’s more of what you missed on Friday: 

Success in the pool

While Dorris was the sole Canadian swimmer to make the podium on Friday, there still were fantastic performances by the country’s athletes in the water on the last day of Para swimming competition.

Among them, Aurélie Rivard and Shelby Newkirk each placed fourth, both under one second away from the podium.

Newkirk broke a Canadian record in the women’s S6 100-metre backstroke final, and Rivard put up a challenge for bronze in the SM10 200-metre individual medley. The latter leaves with five Paralympic medals from Tokyo, and 10 career Paralympic medals overall.

Canada’s Danielle Dorris raced to a gold medal in the pool, while Canadian Marissa Papaconstantinou claimed bronze on the track at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. (Milan Maglov/CBC, Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Canada’s Alec Elliot also raced to fifth place in the SM10 200-metre individual medley, as did Matthew Cabraja in the men’s S11 100-metre butterfly. 

Other Canadian results

The Canadian men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball team finished off their tournaments on Friday. The women had a resounding victory over Japan to claim fifth place, winning 68-49 — a spread of 19 points. 

On the men’s side, Canada was defeated by Germany to place an overall eighth.

Canada’s BC4 boccia pairs also lost twice on Friday to rule them out for the semifinals. Alison Levine, Iulian Ciobanu and Marco Dispaltro had won their opening game of group play, but couldn’t get another to move on in the tournament.

Pakistan wins first-ever gold

Haider Ali of Pakistan has become his country’s first-ever Paralympic gold medallist. Competing in the men’s F37 discus throw, Ali threw 55.26 metres to break a Paralympic record. 

The athlete won Pakistan’s first-ever medal, a silver, back in Beijing 2008. He also won the first-ever bronze. 

“It is great to make history for my country again,” he said, noting he hopes to be a role model for others with disabilities. The athlete lives with cerebral palsy.

“They will see what can be achieved through hard work and to be able to compete internationally for Pakistan.”

Aurélie Rivard of Canada gathers with other swimmers after the women’s 200-metre individual medley, with Chantalle Zijderveld of the Netherlands overwhelmed by her gold medal win. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

His other teammate in Tokyo, Anila Izzat Baig, also competed in discus as the country’s first female Paralympian.

Emma Wiggs of Great Britain wins 1st-ever va’a gold

Va’a has made its Paralympic debut in Tokyo, and Emma Wiggs of Great Britain is the first gold medallist.

The discipline sees paddlers race over 200-metre in va’a boats — outrigger canoes, with a second pontoon, propelled using a single-blade paddle.

The British athlete established a substantial lead over the competition, blazing to first place in a personal best of 57.028 seconds. 

Gold medallist Haider Ali of Team Pakistan poses after winning the men’s F37 discus throw. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Canada’s Brianna Hennessy from Ottawa also went down in history among the first-ever finalists in this event, racing to fifth place in a time of 1:03.254.

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