A pair of North Shore athletes are coming home with medals from the Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
Paracyclist Nathan Clement of West Vancouver won two medals (a gold and a bronze) while North Vancouverite Tara Llanes won a silver as a player on the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team.
Clement – who won the individual time trial event at 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in August – rode to gold in the same event at the Parapan Games, one minute 29 seconds ahead of second place. Clement also won bronze in the longer T1-2 road race event.
The 29-year-old previously competed in para swimming, taking part in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. He retired from competitive swimming in 2018 before taking up paracycling in 2020.
“It was a great measuring stick to see where I was at as a rider and as a cyclist,” he said about his showing in Chile. “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.”
Over on the hard court, the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team was defeated 62-56 after a valiant effort in a nail-biting final against the U.S. The Canadians got within six points in the fourth quarter but couldn't pull ahead. Both squads went into the final previously undefeated in the tournament.
North Vancouver local Llanes said she was “super disappointed” with the result.
“I thought we played well. I thought we played, communicated, had good teamwork – some of the shots didn’t fall,” she said. “I thought we executed the game plan that we wanted to execute. They had some good shots. I can’t take that away from them.”
The team remains hopeful to play in the 2024 Paralympics.
The second-place finish earns Canada a spot in the 2024 IWBF Women’s Repechage tournament in Osaka, Japan, where the team will need a top-four finish to qualify for the Paralympic Games in Paris next summer.