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Sunday, May. 19, 2019
Locals do us proud at 2017 Ontario Para Winter Games
by Randy Pascal

It’s that time of year again when so many Sudburians long to hit the road, with destinations ranging from Cuba, Costa Rica and the islands of the Carribean all among the favourite landing spots. But when it comes to those who represent the city on the amateur sports scene, contentment can be found much closer to home.

The province of Ontario provides venues galore, with several locals enjoying out of town success this past weekend.

Brantford served as host city to the 2017 Ontario Parasport Games, with athletes participating in no less than 10 different sports – archery, wheelchair bocce, sitting volleyball, goalball, alpine skiing, curling, sledge hockey, soccer, nordic skiing and three on three wheelchair basketball.

Parker Lariviere and Shae Lake joined up with a fellow competitor from down south, claiming bronze with the goalball “B” pool, while Paralympian Meghan Mahon, originally from Timmins but living in Sudbury, signed on to compete with some friends from Ottawa, claiming gold in the “A” pool as part of the Bytown team.

Sudbury was also represented on the para nordic ski courses, as James Butcher, Joshua St Jean, Audreanne Soenens and Logan Lariviere all raced in the 2 kilometer freestyle event on Saturday. The youngest competitor by some seven years or so at the age of just 11, Butcher dealt very well with a twist from his first race in Sault Ste Marie earlier this winter.

“It was similar,” said Butcher, who competes in spite of his battle with cerebral palsy. “Both had the start and finish and they were timed. One thing that was different was that I was on roller-skis, and I had never done a race on roller skis. It wasn’t bad adjusting, but I forgot that roller skis cannot go backwards. At the start of the race, I usually move my skis back and forth.”

Catching up with a fellow competitor who was taking part in wheelchair curling, Butcher admitted that the wheelchair bocce holds a particular fascination for him to try, likely due to his Italian heritage on his mother’s side of the family, he figured.

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