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Canada ends 2023 Pan American Games with four medals in sailing, the country's best haul since 2003

by Sail Canada 5 Nov 2023 01:45 GMT
Lee Parkhill takes home the gold medal in Sunfish class and Sarah Douglas the silver in ILCA6 class at Cofradia Nautica del Pacifico during the Panam Games in Santiago, Chile on November 4 © Dave Holland / CSI Calgary

Canadian sailors won two additional medals Saturday, on the last day of the sailing competition at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, including a gold medal in men's Sunfish for Lee Parkhill and a silver medal in ILCA 6 for Sarah Douglas.

Canada leaves Santiago with a total of four medals in sailing, the country's best haul since it came up with the same total at the Santo Domingo 2003 Pan American Games. Furthermore, Canada won three medals in Olympic classes (ILCA 6, 49er and 49erFX) in Santiago, which represents the best result for Canada at the Pan American Games in that respect since 2003.

Lee Parkhill: Pan American Champion in Sunfish

In a very tight Sunfish competition where only two points separated Lee Parkhill (Oakville, ON) in the leading position from third place before Saturday's medal race, the Canadian sailor was able to keep his position by winning the medal race, and therefore the gold medal.

"With a double points medal race, myself, Peru and Chile were virtually all tied, so whoever crossed the line first was going to get that medal," pointed out Lee Parkhill. "It was a true medal race and that's what they were designed for."

"That gold medal was definitely the goal coming in, and it was a long week as well as a very close competition. I'm happy I was able to get it done," added the 2016 Olympian and bronze medalist at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in Laser (ILCA 7).

Although Lee Parkhill took part in the 2008 Sunfish World Championships held in Canada, it was only last March that he started training again in that class.

Silver medal for Sarah Douglas in ILCA 6

In ILCA 6, Sarah Douglas from Toronto, ON, won the silver medal, finishing behind Erika Reineke from the USA. Reineke won eight of the 11 races held throughout the week, denying Sarah Douglas from repeating her gold medal performance at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

"I'm a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to defend the gold medal, but Erika Reineke sailed a phenomenal week. She really performed and showed a top performance and I'm super stoked for her," said Sarah Douglas.

"I personally had a really, really fun week. Algarrobo brought massive, massive swell, the biggest swell I've ever sailed in. It was super fun and a great opportunity to continue to learn and to get better, and kind of become a better all-around sailor and better at something that I'm typically not 100% comfortable in, with that big swell. So, although I'm a bit disappointed, I'm very, very happy, and I had incredible support from the entire Canadian team here."

The Canadian team comprised of Rachel Green from Burlington, ON, Jessica Hirschbold from Victoria, B.C., and Luke Ramsay from Vancouver, B.C., in Lightning, as well as that of Madeline Gillis from Halifax, N.S., and Galen Richardson from Toronto, ON, in Nacra 17, both finished the competition in fourth position.

At the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, Canada not only won four medals, but also qualified an additional three spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, for a total of four as of today, in 49er, 49erFX, Women's Kiteboarding and ILCA 6.

Canada's next opportunity to qualify the country's spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be:

  • ILCA 7: 2024 ILCA 7 Men's World Championship (January 2024 in Adelaide, Australia)
  • Other classes: at the last chance regatta to be held at the 2024 French Olympic Week (April 2024 in Hy√®res, France)

How Canadian athletes will qualify themselves for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

In the classes in which Canada will have spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, athletes and teams will be able to qualify themselves as per the following selection process:

The athlete/team with the lowest score combined position (for example, 1st+21st) from the 2024 World Championships in their respective classes and the 2024 Princess Sofia Regatta, added together, will be selected based on a sailing scoring system (lowest score first).

If there is a tie, the athlete/team in the higher position (based on the sailing scoring system) at the 2024 Princess Sofia Regatta will qualify to be nominated. If an event is cancelled, it will be replaced by the 2024 European Championships of the class.

Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee's Team Selection Committee after it has received nominations from all National Sport Organizations.

Full qualification processes for countries to qualify spots at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, as well as for Canadians to qualify themselves to be nominated to the Paris 2024 Team Canada squad, are available at www.sailing.ca/sc_event/2024-olympic-games.

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