September 11, 2008 (Beijing, China) — Canada took sixth spot in the men’s team sprint and Brian Cowie of Burnaby, B.C., and Devin Smibert of Calgary were sixth in the tandem match sprint event on Wednesday in Paracycling action at the Paralympic Games.
In the men’s team sprint event, Britain took the gold medal final defeating China by more than a full second. The Czech Republic took the bronze medal showdown with a two-second gap on Australia.
The Canadian trio of Ã‰ric Bourgault of Orford, Que., Mark Breton of Charlesbourg, Que., and Jean QuÃ©villon of Ste-AdÃ¨le, Que., were sixth in qualifying with a Canadian record 56.183 second clocking and an average speed of 48.057 kilometres and hour. They needed a top-four to advance.
“We’re very pleased with our race,” said Breton. “We didn’t make any mistakes and that earned us a strong result. We gave our maximum and our relays were smooth. That helped us beat the time we earned at the Pan Am Championships last year.”
Breton, a right-arm amputee, is racing at these Games with a new prosthesis deigned by four students at the UniversitÃ© de Sherbrooke this summer. The 25-year-old has been searching for three years for a prosthesis that will give him more strength and balance.
“This was the first time I raced with the prosthesis on the track,” said Breton. “It helped my but I still need to get use to it. I don’t know how to fully benefit from it yet. However I’ve had some time to race it with it on the road before the Games and that should help me in the upcoming road races.”
In the men’s match sprint event for the visually impaired, Anthony Kappes and his guide Barney Storey of Britain defeated Australia 2-0 in the gold medal final. South Africa beat Japan for bronze 2-1.
Cowie and his guide Smibert were sixth in the 200-metre flying sprint qualifier which determined the seedings for the match sprints. The Canadian pair then lost to Japan 2-0 in the quarterfinals and fell to Ireland in the match for fifth-sixth place
The track portion of the Paracycling events is now completed. QuÃ©villon earned a bronze medal on Sunday in the individual pursuit. The road portion gets underway Friday.