NEWS
11/16/2011 02:44 EST | Updated 01/15/2012 05:12 EST

Canadians win gold in cycling, table tennis at Parapan American Games

GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Cyclists Robbi Weldon and Lyne Bessette won their second gold medal in as many races as Canadian athletes won three gold medals at the Parapan American Games on Tuesday.

Daniel Chalifour and Ed Veal also won cycling gold, while Ian Kent topped the podium in table tennis.

Canada added a silver medal in women's table tennis as well as a silver and a bronze in athletics.

Weldon from Thunder Bay, Ont., and pilot Lyne Bessette from Knowlton, Que., won the women's visually impaired pursuit race as track cycling competition got underway.

"We were really excited with our qualifying time, a new Canadian best, but we knew we would have a tough final," said Weldon, a two-time world champion. "We had a tough start with the starting mechanism malfunctioning, but we dealt with it to win. I am very proud of our performance."

In the men's competition, the newly formed tandem of Chalifour, from St-Jerome, Que., and pilot Veal, form Queensville, Ont., won the individual pursuit in a time of four minutes 23.933 seconds, making up a six-second deficit in the last lap of the race.

"It was like a movie, our first time racing as a team and winning two medals," Chalifour said. "We even had to overcome a flat tire in the qualifier earlier in the day. We started fast but tried to keep a consistent pace and it worked for us."

Kent, from Eastern Passage, N.S., dropped the opener in the men's table tennis final but roared back to win the next three sets against Brazil's Paulo Salmin, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-3.

"This was very different from my other wins," Kent said. "This was a very cerebral match, with ball control not power at a premium. My opponent was young and he had trouble with the spin.

"It was great to win gold for Canada."

Stephanie Chan of Richmond, B.C., won silver in women's competition, falling to Jane Rodriguez of Brazil, 10-12, 7-11, 7-11 in the final.

Virginia McLachlan of Windsor, Ont., won silver in the women's T38 classification 200-metres in a time of 35.41 seconds.

Braedon Dolfo of Langley, B.C., took bronze in the men’s T13 100-metres in a new Canadian record time of 11.34 seconds.

Isaiah Christophe of Brampton, Ont., qualified for Wednesday's wheelchair T54 classification 400-metres final, finishing fourth in the semifinal in a time of 54.11 seconds. Earlier in the day Christophe advanced to the T54 wheelchair 200-metres final by clocking in at 27.49 seconds. The 200-metre final is scheduled for Friday evening.

Renee Foessel of Mississauga, Ont., finished fourth with a new personal best in the women’s F37/38 classification javelin with a throw of 22.88 metres. Brazil's Shirlene Coelho took gold in a new Parapan American Games record of 33.99 metres.

In the men’s visually impaired T12 classification 400-metres final, the Ottawa team of Brandon King and guide runner Cody Boast finished fourth in 55.48 seconds.

In wheelchair basketball, the Canadian women's team won their final preliminary round game, 57-18 against El Salvador, to advance to the semi-finals with a flawless 3-0 record. A semifinal win will give Canada a berth at the 2011 Parapan American Games.

In three days of competition, Canada has won 28 medals, including five gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze.