Hayward, Clement strike gold, Canada wins six medals on Day 2 at Parapan Am Games

SANTIAGO, Chile — Alexandre Hayward and Nathan Clement each won gold medals as Canada's athletes starred on the opening day of para cycling competition Sunday at the 2023 Santiago Parapan Am Games.

Canada won six medals on Day 2 of the Games, bringing its total to 10 — three gold, one silver and six bronze.

Hayward, of Quispamsis, N.B., won gold in the men’s C1-5 combined classifications, finishing the 21.6-kilometre course in 26 minutes 21.14 seconds.

Mike Sametz of Calgary joined Hayward on the podium, finishing third in a time of 27:25.14. Lauro Cesar Moro of Brazil was second (27:06.06).

‘’Mike and I trained for a week in Bromont and we joked it would be nice if we could both get on the podium,’’ said Hayward, who was sixth at the world championships earlier this year where he was coming back from mononucleosis. ‘’To do it in the first race is really special.’’

Hayward, 26, was a candidate for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft in 2012 when he suffered a neck injury in a hockey game. While all his limbs are impaired, he can still use his arms and legs.

He emerged on the Para cycling scene in 2022.

‘’This was a unique time trial,’’ he said. ‘’Usually when you leave the start-finish area the fans sort of die off a bit but they were all over the course which made it a lot of fun.’’

Clement of West Vancouver, B.C., who won a world title in the men's T1 individual time trial earlier this year, won the mixed T1-2 (tricycle) race in a time of 15:44.73.

Dennis Connor of the United States was second (17:14.27) and Juan Betancourt of Colombia was third (17:46.71).

‘’I’m really happy with the race and the medal,’’ said Clement, who is in his second season as a para cyclist after originally competing as a swimmer.

‘’We just got here so I’m really looking forward to experiencing the Village and the Games atmosphere as we prepare for the road race.’’

Shelley Gautier of Niagara Falls, Ont., one of Canada’s flag-bearers in Friday's opening ceremony, was fifth.

The 29-year-old Clement took swimming lessons as a teenager to help him regain mobility in his left side after suffering a stroke caused by chickenpox at age two.

He first represented Canada in para swimming and swam the 50-metre butterfly and 50 freestyle at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.

Charles Moreau of Victoriaville, Que., added a bronze medal in the men’s H1-5 handcycle race with a time of 31:46.65. He finished behind Americans Eric Pinney (31:19.05) and Brandon Lyons (31:38.33).

Tyson MacDonald of Woodstock, Ont., and Emma Van Dyck of Hamilton added to Canada's medal count from the pool with back-to-back bronze medals in the men's and women's S14 100-metre backstroke, respectively.

"It feels good to win a medal here," said the 21-year-old Van Dyck, who's competing in her second Parapan Am Games. "Overall I dropped two seconds from this morning, so it’s a great swim."

In other results Sunday, Canada's men's goalball team improved to 1-1 with an 11-1 win over Venezuela. Mason Smith of Middleton, N.S., led Canada with six goals.

In wheelchair rugby, Canada improved to 2-0 with a 61-42 rout of Brazil. Toronto's Rio Kanda Kovac led Canada with 15 tries.

Both of Canada's wheelchair basketball teams won their games.

The men beat Venezuela 82-42 to go 2-0. The women won 69-17 over El Salvador.

Canada's CP Football team fell to 0-2 in preliminary play with an 11-1 loss to soccer powerhouse Brazil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2023.

The Canadian Press