TOKYO — Standing on the podium at the Tokyo Paralympics Tuesday, Canada's Zachary Gingras wished his family were in the crowd.
The 20-year-old from Markham, Ont., had just won bronze in the T38 men's 400-metres and wanted to celebrate with his loved ones.
“It would have been something special, for sure," he said. "But I know they’re probably crying on the couch back in Canada. So that’s nice.”
Gingras, who lives with cerebral palsy, crossed in a personal-best time of 50.85 seconds Tuesday, just behind Turkey's Mohamed Farhat Chida (50.33). Jose Chessani Garcia of Mexico won gold with a time of 49.99.
“I just went in relaxed. I was chill. I tried not to let the moment get to me too much," Gingras said. “It hurt, but we’re here.”
The Canadian is making a habit of saving his best for the big stage.
He also set a personal best in the 400 at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, where he took silver with a time of 53.16 seconds.
A computer science student at the University of Victoria, Gingras is making his Paralympic debut in Tokyo and is expected to race in the 4x100-metre mixed relay later this week.
Canada has 13 medals at the Tokyo Paralympics including one gold, seven silver and five bronze.
Para cyclist Keely Shaw nearly added to the haul Tuesday.
The Midale, Sask., product finished just off the podium in the women's C-4 time trial, crossing in 42 minutes, 11.09 seconds.
Shawn Morelli of the U.S. won gold with a time of 39.33.79, Australia's Emily Petricola was second (39:43.09) and Meg Lemon, also of Australia, finished third (41:14.42).
Kate O'Brien of Calgary did not finish the race.
Shaw, 27, won Canada's first medal of the Tokyo Paralympics, taking bronze in the C4 3,000-metre individual pursuit on Aug. 25.
In wheelchair basketball action, there was disappointment for the Canadian women's team Tuesday as it fell 63-48 to the U.S. in the quarterfinals.
Arinn Young led Canada with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
“We’re all pretty hurt right now, and we’re going to continue to hurt, so we’re just going to try to end this tournament on a positive note with a potential win,” said Young, a native of Legal, Alta.
Canada worked to claw its way back in the fourth quarter, whittling the lead to seven points several times.
“I didn’t see us ending up losing. But I think nerves might have played a part in the start, and then it was just easy things that we just didn’t read properly like boxing out," Young said. "We weren’t taking our time on our layups, we were rushing a lot of our shots. In the end, that’s pretty much what cost us."
Canada will play either the Netherlands or Japan in the classification round on Friday.
In the men's tournament, Canada will face Britain Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
Three Canadians swam in finals Tuesday, including Alex Elliot, who came fifth in the S10 men's 100m butterfly with a personal-best time of 58.44 seconds.
Ukraine's Maksym Krypak won gold with a world-record 54.15, while Italy's Stefano Raimondi was second (55.04) and Australia's Col Pearse took bronze (57.66).
“It was a good race," said Elliot, who placed fourth in the event at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. “I definitely went out faster, came back a little bit slower. But I gave it my best."
The 25-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., is set to race in the 400m freestyle Wednesday, an event he took bronze in at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London.
Fellow Canadian Sabrina Duchesne of St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Que., came sixth in the S7 women's 100m freestyle and Nicholas Bennett of Parksville, B.C., set a new Canadian record in the SM14 men's individual medley, touching in 2:13.21 to place seventh.
Canada has five medals in the pool at the Tokyo Paralympics, including a gold, two silver and two bronze.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2021.
The Canadian Press