NEWS
08/11/2015 18:28 EDT | Updated 08/11/2016 01:12 EDT

Decorated Paralympians Michelle Stilwell and Benoit Huot race to Parapan Am gold

TORONTO — Veteran Canadian Paralympians Michelle Stilwell and Benoit Huot added Parapan Am gold to their already glittering medal collections on Tuesday.

Wheelchair racer Stilwell won the 100-metre T52 race while star swimmer Hout led a Canadian sweep in the men's 400-metre freestyle S10 class.

The two are among Canada's most decorated para-athletes.

At the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Stilwell was part of Canada's gold-medal winning wheelchair basketball team. Eight years later in Beijing, she won gold in both the 100- and 200-metre wheelchair races. She defended her 200 gold medal in London in 2012 but settled for silver in the 100. She's also a three-time world champion.

Huot has nine Paralympic gold medals along with five silver and five bronze.

The native of Longueuil, Que., who has a club foot, edged teammates Isaac Bouckley of Oshawa, Ont., and Alexander Elliot of Waterloo, Ont., on Tuesday. The gold could be the first of several medals for Huot, who won six at the 2007 Parapans in Brazil.

"I was excited to race," he said. "The first three days were beginning to feel like a long wait."

Fellow Canadian swimmers Katarina Roxon of Kippens, N.L. (women's 100 breaststroke SB8) and Aurelie Rivard, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., (women's 400 freestyle S10) also captured gold to continue Canada's medal haul in the pool. Only Brazil has won more swimming medals at the Games so far.

"I could hear the crowd cheering the last 25 metres," said Roxon. "I just wanted to get to the wall quicker and do it for Canada."

Stilwell, a cabinet minister in B.C. Premier Christy Clark's Liberal government, raced to gold in the 100-metre T52 event in 19.58 seconds, edging Americans Kerry Morgan and Cassie Mitchell. Saskatoon's Becky Richter was fourth.

In other early results at the track, Kyle Whitehouse of St. Catharines, Ont., took silver in the men's 100 metres T38 for athletes with cerebral palsy while Rennee Foessel of Mississauga, Ont., won bronze in women's F37/38 javelin.

Canadians won three silver medals in the boccia competition. Hanif Mawji of Burnaby, B.C., was second in the individual BC1 event while Adam Dukovich of London, Ont., took silver in the BC2 competition and Eric Bussiere of Vercheres, Que., lost in the final of the BC3 division.

In boccia — a distant cousin to lawnbowling and bocce —  wheelchair athletes try to place the six game balls as close as possible to a white target ball known as the jack. Athletes can push, kick or propel the balls with assistive devices depending on their level of physical mobility.

The Canadian Press