Liendo continues Canada's gold-medal rush with men's 100m butterfly Commonwealth title

·8 min read
Canada's Josh Liendo, middle, claimed the men's 100-metre butterfly gold medal on Tuesday at the Commonwealth Games in the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham, England. (Elsa/Getty Images - image credit)
Canada's Josh Liendo, middle, claimed the men's 100-metre butterfly gold medal on Tuesday at the Commonwealth Games in the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham, England. (Elsa/Getty Images - image credit)

Toronto's Josh Liendo swam to a 100-metre butterfly gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham, England, on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old's time of 51.24 seconds was good enough to edge silver medallist James Guy of England by 0.16 seconds. Australia's Matthew Temple took bronze. Fellow Canadian Finlay Knox was seventh.

"That was super, super cool," Liendo said. "It's just been fun, it's been a great experience, and there's more to come, so I'm excited."

Liendo broke through at the 2022 FINA world championships in Budapest in June when he won three medals, including bronze in the individual 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly and as the lead racer in the mixed 4x100 freestyle relay.

In doing so, he became the first Black Canadian swimmer to ever climb the podium in an individual event at worlds.

In April, Liendo broke his own national record in the race with a time of 50.88 seconds at the Canadian swim trials in Victoria.

WATCH l Liendo swims to 100-metre butterfly Commonwealth title:

Liendo said he's happy to pave a path for others.

"It definitely feels great," he said. "People coming up to me, and obviously mentioning it and noticing it and all the support that I'm getting, I definitely love it.

"And I love to see that I'm a role model, because obviously I have people that I look up to, and thinking that I'm in that light and being seen that way in other people's eyes is really cool."

Laylor breaks records, claims gold

Canada's Maya Laylor broke two Commonwealth records en route to a gold medal in the women's 76 kg weightlifting event.

The 27-year-old Toronto native lifted 100 kg in her first snatch attempt to take the lead in the program before posting Commonwealth records of 128 kg in the clean and jerk and 228 kg in total.

"The snatch is a hit or miss, everyone would say so," Laylor said. "I didn't have it quite there yet in the snatch, but kept focused for the clean and jerk. I opened at 123, that was a strong lift, and then 128, went for the Commonwealth record, did that .. I gave it my all today."

WATCH l Maya Laylor claims women's 76 kg weightlifting gold in style:

Silver medallist Taiwo Liadi of Nigeria lifted 96 kg in the snatch and 120 kg in the clean and jerk, coming 12 kg shy of the Canadian. Maximina Uepa of Nauru had a total of 216 kg for bronze.

Laylor also took gold in the same category at the 2021 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent. Two years before that, the Canadian won the 71 kg title in Apia.

Canadian weightlifters captured another medal on Day 5, courtesy of Kristel Ngarlem.

The Rimouski, Que., native lifted 101 kg in the snatch, then consistently improved from 125 kg to 130 kg to 135 kg in the clean and jerk program to claim the silver medal in the women's 87kg event.

WATCH | Ngarlem captures silver in women's 87 kg:

Beauchemin-Pinard wins judo gold

Olympic medallist Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard captured the women's judo -63 kg gold medal by defeating England's Gemma Howell by ippon in golden score.

The Saint-Hubert, Que., native made past Cynthia Rahming of Bahamas in a quarter-final, then topped Audrey Jeannette Etoua Biock from Cameroon in semifinal action.

"It's something to put on my CV, something more," Beauchemin-Pinard said. "It's the first time I've participated in the Commonwealth Games, and the opening ceremony was so nice to do, so much people and meeting all the [people from other] sports, that was really nice too."

WATCH l Judoka Beauchemin-Pinard is golden on women's -63kg:

The 28-year-old Beauchemin-Pinard won the bronze medal in Tokyo 2021, having also claimed gold medals at the Judo Pan American Championships in Lima 2019 and Guadalajara 2020 — all in the -63 kg category.

Canada's women's 3x3 basketball teams win gold

The Canadian 3x3 basketball squads went four for four in medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, in an effort highlighted by the women's squads gold medals.

Sarah Te-Biasu scored a buzzer-beater basket to propel Canada to the women's 3x3 able-bodied basketball title in a 14-13 win over England.

"I was really confident. I knew it was two seconds left, and my teammates said just grab the ball and go. That's what I did," Te-Biasu said. "I was so proud."

WATCH | Canada wins women's 3x3 able-bodied basketball gold in dramatic fashion:

Te-Biasu, a sophomore guard at VCU, had very little experience in the 3x3 halfcourt game before arriving in Birmingham.

"It was hard at the beginning, because it's really fast and quick," she said on the adjustment. "I didn't know the rules, and I had two weeks to prepare. I just love it now. It's an amazing game."

Te-Biasu had seven points to lead Canada, with Taya Hanson adding five of her own. Rosalie Mercille and Tara Wallack contributed with one point each.

Kady Dandeneau of Pender Island, B.C., scored six points to lead Canada to a 14-5 rout of Australia in the women's 3x3 wheelchair basketball final.

Tamara Steeves of Mississauga, Ont., added four points while Élodie Tessier of Saint-Germain de Grantham, Que., and captain Tara Llanes of North Vancouver, B.C., each posted two.

"This crowd feels amazing like I'm having like an out-of-body experience right now, especially after not having the crowd for like two years [due to the COVID-19 pandemic], this is full on. You just want to soak it up," Llanes said.

WATCH | Canada nets gold in women's 3x3 wheelchair basketball:

Canada's men's 3x3 wheelchair basketball team also made it to its tournament's final, narrowly missing out on gold in a 11-9 loss to Australia and having to settle for silver.

Colin Higgins of Rothesay, N.B., had five points, while Quebec City's Vincent Dallaire added three. Four-time Paralympian and captain Bo Hedges of Wonowon, B.C. added one more point for Canada.

WATCH l Canada grabs men's 3x3 wheelchair basketball silver:

Earlier on Tuesday, the men's able-bodied team claimed bronze in a 13-12 victory over Scotland.

Bikramjit Gill led the Canadians with five points, while Alex Dean Johnson added four and Jordan Zaki Jensen-Whyte posted three.

"Glad to be a part of it," Gill said. "Hopefully we're taking steps in the right direction, and this will help put us more on the
forefront."

WATCH l Canada narrowly edges Scotland in men's 3x3 basketball for bronze:

Canadian swimmers continue medal-winning ways

The Canadian mixed 4x100-metre medley relay team rallied for silver to grab the final of Canada's 13 medals of the fifth day of competition.

Kylie Masse, James Dergousoff, Maggie Mac Neil and Ruslan Gaziev posted a time of 3:43.98, coming from behind in the final leg to finish 2.68 seconds behind the Australian squad, which took gold.

The English team finished just 0.05 seconds behind the Canadians for bronze.

WATCH | Masse, Dergousoff, Mac Neil, Gaziev lead Canada to silver in the pool:

Aurelie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., captured a silver medal in the women's in the women's 200-metre individual medley SM10 final to add to the Canadian swimmers' momentum.

The 26-year-old set a time of two minutes 34.26 seconds to finish to successfully defend her silver medal from four years ago.

WATCH | Rivard swims to silver in women's 200m individual SM10 final:

Rivard came 0.97 seconds behind gold medallist Jasmine Greenwood of Australia. Keira Stephens, also from Australia, took bronze.

Fellow Canadian Katarina Roxon was sixth in the same event.

Gauthier-Drapeau, El Nahas share judo podium

François Gauthier-Drapeau and Mohab El Nahas added two more medals for Canadian judokas, sharing the podium in the men's -81 kg event.

Gauthier-Drapeau downed Judoka Eoin Fleming from the Republic of Ireland in a semifinal before settling for silver in the gold-medal match with England's Lachlan Moorhead.

WATCH | Gauthier-Drapeau secures silver:

Shortly before, Mohab El Nahas defeated Barbados' Asa Weithers by ippon to take bronze in the same category.

The 26-year-old added to his 2022 success, having recently claimed a gold medal at the judo European Open in Prague in the same category.

WATCH l El Nahas takes judo bronze:

Spence grabs 3rd bronze of Games

Emma Spence of Cambridge, Ont., captured her third bronze medal of the Commonwealth Games in the women's balance beam event.

The 19-year-old gymnast had scores of 5.100 in difficulty and 7.966 in execution to finish with a total of 13.066, 0.400 shy of gold medallist Kate McDonald of Australia. Georgia Godwin, also from Australia, earned silver with 13.433 points.

WATCH l Spence lands women's balance beam podium:

Spence also won bronze in the women's team event on Saturday and in the women's all-around final on Sunday.

The Canadian almost added a fourth bronze medal to her list in the women's floor exercise on Tuesday, finishing just 0.034 shy of Australia's Emily Whitehead's bronze-worthy score of 13.000.

Toronto's Cassandra Lee finished right behind Spence, in fifth.

Felix Dolci of Laval, Que., narrowly missed the podium in the men's vault and men's parallel bars finals, finishing fourth in both events.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here

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