Manitoba hauls in medals

PAUL TURENNE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 2:25 PM ET

It was a golden day for the Gold and Brown at the third Canadian Francophone Games yesterday. Manitoba athletes took home more gold medals than any other province on the first day that they started giving them out.

The host province won four gold and three silver medals yesterday, including the first athletic gold medal given out at the Francophone Games. The event has brought together more than 850 French-speaking youths aged 14 to 18 from every Canadian province and territory for four days of athletic and cultural competitions around Winnipeg.

CULTURAL COMPETITIONS

The Games feature four sporting areas, including track and field, volleyball, badminton and three-on-three basketball. Medals are also awarded in cultural competitions like music, art and improv theatre.

The athletic events began yesterday with round-robin badminton matches and basketball games. After the first hardware was handed out, it was Manitoba's athletes who finished the day on top.

Manitoba won four of the 10 gold medals awarded in track and field yesterday, with Ontario picking up three, and New Brunswick, Quebec and Nova Scotia each winning one. A team from Quebec won the gold in mixed doubles badminton, which was the only other sporting event to award medals yesterday.

Khalicia Pettinger, a 16-year-old Miles MacDonnell Collegiate student and a member of Winnipeg's Flying "M" Track Club, became the Games' first double gold medallist yesterday, winning the girls triple jump with a jump of 10.56 metres and setting a Games record in the girls long jump, with a leap of 5.15 metres.

Other gold medallists for Manitoba included Sarah-Anne Brault, who won the girls 3,000-metre race in a time of 10:26, which set a new Francophone Games record, and Alexandre Auclair, who tossed a discus 35.07 metres to take home gold.

TWO SILVERS

Zacharie Durand of La Broquerie won two silvers for Manitoba, in the boys 100-metre race and triple jump.

Melanie Gregoire won Manitoba's other silver, finishing second to Brault in the 3,000 metres.

"We expected to do relatively well but we never thought we'd have four gold medals to start the day," said Alphonse Bernard, who coaches Manitoba's track and field team along with Makaela Pena.

"It's super for Manitoba's team. It puts us in the running to win the whole thing," said Brault. The 15-year-old Winnipegger's medal was the first sporting gold given out at the Games.

Brault had set a Manitoba provincial record in the 3,000 metre event in a time of 10:12 at the high school championships last month.

"It's a good feeling," said Auclair. "We won the Western Francophone Games (in B.C. last summer) so I knew we had a good team."

More medals could be on the way for Team 'Toba, as track and field events continue today, as well as finals in singles and doubles badminton. Basketball and volleyball medal rounds run tomorrow, the final day of the Games.


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