It’s turnaround day at the 2017 Canada Summer Games — the midway point of the multi-sport extravaganza.
About 2,000 athletes will ship out today, while another few thousand move into the athletes’ village of the University of Manitoba for the second half of the Games.
Manitoba’s triple-medal winners, track star Victoria Tachinski and elite rower Emma Gray, both of Winnipeg, are finished competing, but their golden performances won’t soon be forgotten.
All track and field participants, baseball, basketball and beach volleyball players, divers, rowers, sailors, mountain bikers, triathletes and male softball and female soccer players are heading home, while we’ll say hello and good luck to canoe/kayak competitors, golfers, tennis, indoor volleyball, female softball and male soccer players, road cyclists, swimmers and wrestlers settle in this weekend.
Week two of the Games kicks off Monday morning with action at the Manitoba Canoe and Kayak Centre, Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club and the volleyball courts at Investors Group Athletic Centre, beginning at 9 a.m.
Manitoba is sixth in the medal standings with 18 medals — two gold, eight silver and eight bronze — through the first seven days of the Games and trails the usual suspects, Ontario (89), British Columbia (61), Quebec (50) and Alberta (33) by wide margins.
Seeing Saskatchewan two medals ahead (20) will be mighty painful for some and the neighbours to the west doused the wound with salt Friday night at Shaw Park as their baseball squad knocked off Manitoba 3-1 in the gold-medal matchup. Still, it was the first silver since ’85 for the local boys of summer.
Team Manitoba will need another high medal yield during the second week to out-perform the contingent that competed four years ago in Sherbrooke, Que., and brought home 35 medals.
Team Manitoba chef de mission Barry Moroz says, have no fear, folks.
“There’s a lot more to come. I think based on where we stand, (eclipsing 35) is very, very achievable,” he said Friday. “We’re going to do really well in canoe/kayak, we’re going to have some medals in wrestling and swimming. And there could be some surprises, for sure.”
Athletes from the province didn’t kick up much of a fuss through the first five days of competition as Team ‘Toba collected just a pair of bronze medals earned Monday during gutsy, memorable performance by 18-year-old female triathlete Kyla Roy and female javelin thrower Brooke-Lynn Boyd, 21.
All that changed Thursday with an eight-medal haul, including the team’s first gold won by Tachinski in the female 400-metre final.
The 18-year-old Winnipeg runner beat the field and clocked in at 54.04 seconds to electrify the crowd at University of Manitoba Stadium.
Manitoba also snagged three silver medals in athletics, including Rebekah Eckert’s solid second-place finish in the female triple jump, Nathan Smith’s leap in male high jump and Regan Hofley’s sprint in the Special Olympics female 100-metre event. Tegan Turner earned a pair of bronze medals, finishing third in the female 100-metre and as a member of Manitoba’s 4×100-metre female relay team.
At Birds Hill Park, Roy, her 15-year-old sister Caitlyn and Claire Healey joined forces to win silver in the female triathlon relay team, while the female quadruple sculls rowing team of Gray, Abby Dent, Justine Gillert and Gabriella Yakemow combined for a bronze at the Kenora Rowing Club.
On Friday, the ‘Toba troupe refused to gear down, collecting another eight medals, including a much-coveted gold in female single sculls and a bronze in double sculls for Gray, 19, a true rowing wunderkind.
“It’s really nice to medal in more than one event,” said Gray, Manitoba’s flag bearer for the opening ceremonies. “It’s nice to bring that home for Manitoba and contribute for the rest of the Games and, hopefully, get our points up.”
— Jason Bell