Nepean skaters golden at Games

ROB BRODIE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Just one month ago, Lisa Casselman and Ryan Behnia were thrilled to become Canadian pre-novice ice dance champions.

Imagine how it felt, then, for the Nepean Skating Club duo to complete a rare double with a Canada Winter Games gold medal yesterday.

"It's like two different worlds," Behnia, 16, said from Whitehorse after they secured the gold at the Canada Games Centre. "This was like a mini-Olympics.

"It's great to win both of them, but each felt different."

Casselman and Behnia weren't flawless yesterday, with what Behnia called "a bit of a fall" early in their free dance, skated to music from Sarah Brightman's Harem.

But they still managed to hold off Quebec's Raphaelle Viau and Benjamin Arcieri for the gold. Casselman and Behnia outpointed them 34.06-33.97 in the free dance and 58.41-56.70 overall.

"It's one of those once in a lifetime things that not too many people get," Casselman, 14, said of just getting the opportunity to skate at a Canada Games. "For us to medal and get the Canada Games (gold) ... when that happens, it's sort of surreal.

"It's an amazing feeling."

Both skaters admitted it wasn't easy getting back up for this event after the high of their exhilirating triumph at the Skate Canada Junior Nationals in Brampton.

"It was a bit hard in training," said Behnia. "Everyone else (at the Nepean club) was done for the year, and we were still doing double run-throughs.

"It was a bit hard to stay focused, but I guess we did a decent job with it."

Said Casselman: "When we first got back (from Brampton), Ryan and I, for a bit, thought we had this (Canada Games) in the bag because we had just won nationals. But then we said 'wait a minute, we can't think like this.'

"Our toughest competition at nationals would be coming (to Whitehorse), and we knew they'd be fighting to beat us just as much as we'd be fighting them to (win again)."

In other events:

* Manotick's Neil Sinclair clinched a berth in tomorrow's men's curling semi-finals with victories over the Yukon 7-5 and Nunavut 11-2. With a 5-1 record, the Ontario representatives will finish second in Pool A.

* For the second straight day, Ottawa's Kelly Singer wound up 12th in an alpine skiing event. Yesterday, she earned the result in women's giant slalom.

* Ontario routed P.E.I. 13-0 to finish 3-0 in its women's hockey pool. Ottawa's Sami Evelyn had an assist in the win. Ontario has outscored its foes 32-0 at the Games.


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