Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Athletes Open Paralympic Winter Games with Three Medals Saturday

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Athletes Open Paralympic Winter Games with Three Medals Saturday

Article excerpt

Canada opens Paralympics with three medals

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SOCHI, Russia - Mark Arendz recorded a first for Canada on the opening day of competition at the Paralympic Winter Games.

The 24-year-old from Hartsville, P.E.I., won a silver medal Saturday in the biathlon, the first Canadian ever to do so in the event. Arendz finished just .07 seconds behind gold medallist Vladislav Lekomtcev of Russia, who posted a winning time of 19 minutes 3.7 seconds.

Russian Azat Karachurin finished third in 19:14.9.

Arendz's coach, Robin McKeever, guided his brother and 10-time Paralympic medallist, Brian, to Canada's only other Paralympic medal in biathlon. They captured a bronze medal in the visually impaired 7.5-kilometre sprint discipline at the 2006 Paralympics in Turin, Italy.

"It feels absolutely great and a big relief to get on the podium right away," said a beaming Arendz. "I fought as hard as I could, and it was such a close race at the end."

It was one of three medals for Canada on the day.

Josh Dueck of Kimberley B.C., also earned a silver medal in the men's downhill sit-ski. Mac Marcoux of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and guide Robin Femy of Mont-Tremblant, Que., claimed a bronze in the men's visually-impaired downhill.

Dueck won his medal on the 10th anniversary of the freestyle skiing accident that landed him in a wheelchair. It was his second Paralympic medal after claiming a silver in slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games.

"This is fantastic," Dueck said. "I'm really about performance, and I took a fast line down the hill and took some chances and I got pretty lucky.

"I crossed the line and was thrilled. Second is awesome."

Kurt Oatway, of Calgary and Caleb Brousseau, of Terrace, B. …

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