Let’s set the scene: Twenty sports, sixteen days, and nearly 5,000 up-and-coming athletes competing against the backdrop of Ontario’s wine region.
After a one-year delay, the 2022 Jeux du Canada Games wrapped up on Sunday. Team B.C.’s athletes certainly put on a show, thanks in part to the performances of Tri-Cities athletes.
Let’s take a look at how they did:
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A Coquitlam hammer thrower set the Canada Games record twice on her way to winning the event on Aug. 16. Chanell Botsis threw over 59 metres on each of her throws, hitting 61.41 on her second try and 61.44 on her final try. Both were strong enough to break the standing Canada Games record for hammer throw, 61.28m, set in 2001 by Jen Joyce.
Canada is having a moment in hammerthrow internationally. Earlier this summer, Camryn Rogers, who trains with the same team as Botsis, Richmond’s Kajaks Track and Field club, became the first Canadian woman to win a medal in the field events at world championships. She won silver. Earlier this month, she set a new Commonwealth Games record, 74.68m, on her way to gold.
Botsis, 24, spoke with Athletics Canada after the event, saying she is part of a group of Canadian females specializing in field events who have been working hard for the past decade.
“That work over time, just putting in the time, the effort,” she says. “It’s great to see so many of us succeeding and throwing so far.”
Consistency was key for Coquitlam’s Victoria Coady. The 19-year-old athlete finished either first or second over eight races to win gold in the female single-handed laser radial sailing competition.
Historic silver for B.C’s female box lacrosse team
Five Tri-Cities athletes helped Team B.C’s female box lacrosse team into the history books last week. Seventeen-year-olds Alyssa Clark, Gillian Lapierre, Kiera Scott and Mariah Whitfield, as well as 16-year-old Michela Paterson were members of the team that took home silver in Friday’s final against hosts Team Ontario.
It’s the first time female box lacrosse has been included in the Canada Games. Teams were divided into two pools, with B.C. getting included in Pool A alongside other more experienced teams.
The team of 18 began their hunt for the medals on Aug. 7, falling 0-5 to Ontario. They rallied the following day, besting Alberta 7-4, then Nova Scotia 9-3 and Quebec 8-1 to set themselves up for a rematch against Alberta for a place in the final.
Clark tied the game up early in the second period with Whitfield and Paterson each adding a goal to the score, making it 4-2. Paterson then scored another in the third period to lift the team to the final.
Their rematch against Ontario was a lot more evenly matched than the first game of the tournament, with no goals until the second period. B.C. was able to tie the game early in the third period, but the tie was broken later in the final period by Ontario to secure the win.
Coquitlam Cheetah Calib Gruninger, 17, ran alongside Team BC to claim the silver medal in the male 4 x 100m relay.
Port Coquitlam’s Gabriela Cross proved she’s the best in the field. The 18-year-old athlete won gold in the 60kg female division. She also helped B.C. to a gold in the team competition.
Cross was recently named to Wrestling Canada’s team for the 2022 Junior World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Competition just wrapped up on Aug. 21.
Tri-Cities swimmers sure know how to make a splash.
Fourteen-year old Laon Kim, of the Hyack Swim Club, led the way with six medals. He started with a silver in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay, picking up a bronze the next day in the 100m freestyle. Kim then swam the lead leg of the 4 x 100m freestyle relay, passing off to teammate Peter Huang of Coquitlam and eventually winning gold. Kim’s final medals came in the 4 x 100m freestyle mixed relay (silver) and the 50m freestyle (gold), where he touched the wall a mere 0.03s ahead of second.
Huang, a member of the Surrey Knights swim club, finished his time in the pool with four medals to his name. The 17-year-old swimmer from Coquitlam started his meet off with a silver medal, leading the B.C. team in the 4 x 200m men’s freestyle relay. The next day, he picked up a silver medal in the 200m butterfly. He wrapped up competition with an individual gold in the 200m freestyle, touching the wall a mere 0.07 seconds ahead of second place.
Fellow Hyack Swim Club member Justin Jung, 16, swam to individual bronze in the 200m breaststroke and raced the second leg of the 4 x 100m mixed medley relay with the team finishing in second, less than a second from gold.
Game, set, match
Coquitlam’s Emma Dong helped Team B.C. to a silver medal in tennis’ Team Mix competition. Four male athletes and four female athletes compete in both singles and doubles matches against other teams. B.C. dropped the final to Quebec.
Port Coquitlam athlete Jarrett Chong threw his javelin 62.97 metres to finish third in the event. The 21-year-old Simon Fraser University student also competes for the school’s track team. His personal best in the event is 66.99 metres.
Team B.C. struck gold in men’s box lacrosse return to the games agenda. It was last contested in 1985.
Four teenagers from Coquitlam were on the team: Cole Kennett, Laken Murray, Jordan Reed and Nathan Chalmer. Nolan Ross of Port Coquitlam also suited up for B.C. The team was down two points heading into the third period, when they scored three goals to win 7-6 over Team Ontario.
Coquitlam’s Ethan Posthumus joined forces with three other B.C. golfers to win gold in the team mix event. In the final round, the team finished 33 strokes under par.
Boys in the boat
Coquitlam’s Connor Attridge was in B.C.’s men’s coxed eight boat. At the historic Royal Canadian Henley course they were in a battle for the gold with Ontario, crossing the line less than half a second behind the other boat to claim silver.