Keely Shaw won Canada’s first medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Wednesday, winning bronze in the C4 cycling 3,000-meter individual pursuit. Swimmer Aurélie Rivard quickly contributed to the Canadian harvest, starting her Paralympic campaign by winning bronze in the 50-meter freestyle S10.

The Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu athlete crossed the distance in 28.11 seconds; she won gold in this event in Rio in 2016. Russian swimmer Anastasiia Gontar won gold with a time of 27.38, while Chantalle Zuderveld of the Netherlands followed in 27.42 to claim the money.

“Just being on the podium at the Paralympics is special, no matter what position or color of the medal,” said Rivard. On the other hand, I didn’t have a bronze medal in my collection. Of course, I would have wanted to defend my title and it’s disappointing, but I’ll deal with that later. This marks Rivard’s sixth Paralympic medal in his career; she had won a silver medal in London in 2012 and three gold and one silver in Rio in 2016.

Just being on the podium at the Paralympics is special, no matter what position or color of the medal.

Rivard was participating in a first competition since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was hard training for something when you didn’t know whether it was going to happen or not,” she said. Throughout the year, it felt like it was slipping through our fingers. Last September, we were in a position where we always expected the worst-case scenario. I think it’s been very difficult to get out of that frame of mind and I was having a hard time finding my enthusiasm to come here over the past few weeks due to everything that is going on. It remains a little unreal. “

Rivard is entered in six races in Tokyo – five individual and one relay – and feels happy to have broken the ice and finally faced his rivals once again.

Saskatoon native Keely Shaw made it to the finish in 3:48:34 on his Paralympic debut at the Izu Velodrome. She beat Australia’s Meg Lemon in the race for bronze.

” It’s heavy ! This is probably my most intense bicep effort in three years, Shaw laughed, pointing to his medal. She is magnificent. There is braille, which is really nice. “

A world silver medalist in 2019, Shaw started paracycling in 2016 after being paralyzed on the left side of her body from a fall from a horse in 2009. “I just hope people are happy for me. , but also inspired. And I hope other people with disabilities will understand that there are these kinds of opportunities and that they can too, ”said Shaw.

Elsewhere, on day one of competition, the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team defeated Great Britain 73-54. Kady Dandeneau of Pender Island, BC, scored 32 points while Rosalie Lalonde of Saint-Clet, Que., Provided 20.

The Canadian wheelchair rugby team suffered a 50-47 loss to the United Kingdom in their first game in 18 months. She will face the United States on Thursday.

Wheelchair fencer Pierre Mainville of Saint-Colomban reached the round of 16 on saber before being beaten 15-9 and eliminated by Frenchman Maxime Valet.

Para swimmers Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon and Nicholas Bennett of Parksville, BC, set Canadian records in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly respectively, but did not advance to the finals.