September 7, 2008 (Beijing, China) – Jean QuÃ©villon of Ste-AdÃ¨le, Que., opened the cycling competition Sunday at the Paralympic Games with a bronze medal in the men’s individual pursuit in the CP 3 category for cerebral palsy athletes at the Laoshan Velodrome.
“It’s been about 10 years since I won a major international medal on the track so I hit the jackpot today,” said QuÃ©villon, who turned 45 last month and has been a national team member since 1999.
Darren Kenny of Britain won the gold medal defeating Yong-Sik Jin of South Korea in the gold medal final. QuÃ©villon easily outdistanced Maurice Far Eckhard of Spain for the bronze clocking a personal best 4:03.277 almost five seconds faster than his opponent and averaging more than 44 kilometres and hour.
“I gave everything I had in that match and I was a lot stronger,” said QuÃ©villon who’ll also race the kilo and the team sprint on the track as well as the time trial and road races at the Games. “These are my third Games and my goal was to win at least one medal on the track. I achieved that today.”
In qualifying QuÃ©villon ranked third to advance to the bronze medal match clocking 4:03.730. Kenny broke his world record by nearly six seconds in qualifying with a 3:36.875. Brayden McDougall of Calgary was seventh and eliminated.
QuÃ©villon has been one of Canada’s most consistent para-cyclists and earned his second career Paralympic medal. He won silver at the 2000 Games in Sydney on the road in the individual time trial. He was happy to put Canadian para-cyclists on the medal board on the first day.
“We’ve come here with the intention to win medals,” he said. “I’m very proud to have got the ball rolling.”
In the men’s tandem individual pursuit for visually impaired, Daniel Chalifour of Lac-des-Ã‰corces, Que., and his guide Alexandre Cloutier of St-Antoine-de Tilly, Que., also advanced to the bronze medal match but lost to Bryce Lindores and Steven George of Australia to finish fourth. Kieran Modra and Tyson Lawrence of Australia won the gold in world record time.
Brian Cowie of Burnaby, B.C., and his guide Devon Smibert of Calgary were fifth in qualifying and did not advance to the medal round while Stephane Cote of Quebec City and Pierre-Olivier Boily of Roberval, Que., were 10th.
GeneviÃ¨ve Ouellet of Amos, Que., and her pilot Mathilde Hupin of Bromont, Que., were sixth in the women’s kilo final.