Canada capped the Parapan American Games with five medals Sunday for a total of 52.
Canada’s team of 135 athletes competing in 14 sports claimed nine gold, 15 silver and 28 bronze overall in Santiago, Chile.
The 52 medals ranked sixth among the 21 participating countries while the nine gold were eighth.
Brazil led all countries with 343 medals and 156 gold. The United States was second with 166 medals and 55 gold followed by Colombia, which earned 161 medals and 50 gold.
“Not only did we have much to celebrate on the field of play, this was also a superb showcase of the transformative impact sport can have in creating a more inclusive and accessible world,” Canadian Paralympic Committee president Karen O’Neill said Sunday in a statement.
The women’s goalball won gold to secure an early berth in the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
Montreal’s Alison Levine, who was Canada’s flag-bearer Sunday, and Iulian Ciobanu earned a Paralympic quota spot for Canada in boccia BC4 pairs as did para archer Kyle Tremblay of Deep River, Ont., with a bronze in men’s compound.
“These Games were also an important step leading into next summer’s Paralympic Games as we seek to best prepare our athletes, coaches, and staff and also provide the best experience possible,” O’Neill said.
“As we look ahead to the next nine months leading into Paris, we have so many successes, learnings, and stories to build on from here as we seek to continue to elevate Paralympic sport and Paralympic athletes across Canada.”
Canada also ranked sixth in total medals with 60, including 17 gold, four years ago at the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru.
Levine was named flag-bearer ahead of Sunday’s closing ceremony.
She captured two gold medals to lead Canada’s boccia team, which won six medals in Santiago.
“I never in a million years thought of this moment,” said Levine. “I’m shocked. Everyone who has carried that flag has been selected for a reason, and to just feel like I was selected for a reason as well is so amazing. I’m truly honoured.”
On Sunday, Alex Hayward of Quispamsis, N.B., raced to silver in the men’s C1-3 road race for his fourth para cycling medal of the Games. He also won two gold and a bronze.
Hayward was two seconds short of gold-medal winner Alejandro Perea of Colombia in the road race with a time of one hour, 18 minutes and three seconds. Fellow Colombian Esneider Munoz Marin took bronze.
“I think being so new to cycling, the road aspect of it is the biggest learning curve,” said Hayward. “Given the situation and how it played out I’m pretty happy with how I finished.
“Alejandro’s been doing this for a long time, so he sprinted me at the end.”
William Roussy of Marie, Que., captured silver in the para badminton SL3 men’s singles tournament.
The 20-year-old Roussy lost 11-21, 21-18, 21-15 in the final to defending champion Pedro de Vinatea of Peru. Gerson Jair Vargas Lostaunau, also of Peru, won bronze.
‘’I was expecting we would have long exchanges, so I knew it was important to warm up really well,’’ said Roussy. ‘’Still, this result was a big step in my career. I hope at the next Games I can win the gold.’’
Canada won two other badminton medals Sunday as Bernard Lapointe of St-Léonard, Que., and Vancouver’s Yuka Chokyu each took bronze.
Lapointe, 39, defeated José Chaves of Brazil 21-8,21-4 in 21 minutes to win the men’s WH2 bronze-medal match. Jaime Nicolás Aranguiz Urrutia of Chile beat Brazil’s Julio Cesar Godoy for gold.
‘’I didn’t sleep all night, I wanted that medal so bad,’’ said Lapointe. ‘’I was in a great zone the whole game, I could feel I was on. I gave him no chances and the match went exactly as planned.’’
Chokyu, 56, needed just 20 minutes to beat American Amy Burnett 21-5, 21-5 and place third in women’s wheelchair singles. Daniele Souza of Brazil defeated Jaquelin Karina Burgos Javier in the gold-medal match.
‘’I’m proud to get the bronze medal,’’ said Chokyu. ‘’The level of the players, especially compared to 2019, is going up. Every country is working hard and we are going to have to keep up.’’
Nathan Clement of West Vancouver, B.C., claimed a para cycling bronze in the mixed T1-2. American Dennis Dale Connors won gold and Juan Jose Betancourt of Colombia earned silver.
“It was a great measuring stick to see where I was at as a rider and as a cyclist,” said Clement. “There’s still so much room I need to grow and expand, but overall, seeing my power and feeling throughout the race and from the start of my cycling to where I am now, this was my strongest performance.”
The para cycling and track and field teams led Canada’s medal charge with a dozen medals in each sport ahead of para swimming with 10.
“The past nine days have truly been an outstanding display of athletic achievement and disability pride,” said Canada’s co-chef de mission Josh Vander Vies.
Clement, who also won gold in Santiago in para cycling’s mixed T1-2, was formerly a para swimmer for Canada who won bronze at the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto.
“Behind every performance is a unique journey, and this Games had no shortage of incredible stories to share about the power of sport,” said co-chef Karolina Wisniewska.