Gauthier fourth and Scarff seventh at Paralympic debut
Christine Gauthier (photo: Canadian Paralympic Committee)
Erica Scarff (photo: Canadian Paralympic Committee)
Canoe Kayak Canada – RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (September 15, 2016) – Christine Gauthier (Pointe-Claire, QC) finished fourth at the Paralympic Games today in the Women’s KL2 200m.
She was one spot and 1.31 of a second away from claiming one of the first-ever Paralympic medals to be presented in the sport of Paracanoe.
Gauthier said the wind was a challenge for her as without lower body movement, the waves make balancing and steering without a rudder even harder. She struggled off the start and was seventh at the half-way mark. In the final hundred metres, she came through to move up to fourth place.
“I’m a strong finisher. Unfortunately, it was 200 and not 250 metres,” remarked Gauthier. “These kind of races, everything has to be at the right moment.”
Gauthier is a five-time World Champion in Paracanoe. At 46 years-old she’s hopeful Paracanoe’s debut at the Paralympic Games will inspire the next generation of Paralympians.
“Most of all, I want Canada to do well. I would ask nothing more than for some young paddlers to come and take my spot.”
Gauthier’s comment about young up-and-comers in the sport was fittingly followed by a seventh place performance by her 20-year-old teammate, Erica Scarff (Mississauga, ON) in the Women’s KL3 200m.
“It happened so fast,” Scarff said of her Paralympic final. “I had an okay start. Yesterday I had my best start ever and in the second half I seemed to fall behind. Hopefully over the next year I’ll focus on maintaining my speed throughout the race.”
Scarff, already looking ahead to her challenge, took up the sport just three years ago. She competed at the World Championships for the first time in 2015. She finished sixth at the last Paracanoe World Championships in May 2016 to qualify the boat for the first Paralympic Games to ever include Paracanoe.
“Canadians should be really proud of Gauthier and Scarff’s accomplishments today, and they should also be proud of Canoe Kayak Canada’s leadership in developing Paracanoe,” said John Edwards, Chair of the ICF’s Paracanoe Committee who served as Canoe Kayak Canada’s Domestic Development Director for 16 years. “Since we spearheaded the first international conference for Paracanoe in 2008 we’ve made enormous strides in our goal to make paddling accessible to everyone. It’s taken a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people and we’re so proud to be a part of the Paralympic movement.”
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Canoe Kayak Canada is the national governing body for competitive paddling in Canada. Canoe Kayak Canada has been one of Canada’s top performing summer sports having won an impressive count of 24 Olympic medals. Canoe Kayak Canada is a member-based organization which includes an intricate network of clubs as well as provincial, territorial and divisional paddling associations. Elite National Team athletes proudly represent Canada at various competitions around the globe – most notably the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Pan American Games, ICF World Cups as well as Junior, Under 23 and Senior World Championships. Follow Canoe Kayak Canada on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
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