Big day for Canada at Commonwealth Games

Canada's Nicole Forrester celebrates after winning the women's high jump final.   (REUTERS/Tim...

Canada's Nicole Forrester celebrates after winning the women's high jump final. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:27 PM ET

Canada received strong performances in the pool and on the track en route to a nine-medal performance on Sunday at the 19th Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Veteran diver Alexandre Despatie won gold in the one-metre springboard while his teammates Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans earned top spot in the women's three-metre synchro.

Canada also received gold-medal performances from wrestler Arjan Bhullar, high jumper Nicole Forrester and long jumper Alice Falaiye while archer Jay Lyon of Winnipeg added a silver in the men's recurve event.

In total, the Canadians accounted for five golds, one silver and three bronze on Day 7 of the Delhi Games. Canada sits fourth in the overall medal standings with 59. Australia leads with 137 followed by England with 104 and host nation India sits third with 73.

Despatie successfully defended his title in the one-metre springboard with a score of 468.15. He finished ahead of Australia's Matthew Mitcham (441.00) and Scott Robertson (409.15).

"I felt really comfortable in the final," Despatie said. "One-metre is not an event I trained that much but after the second dive I felt I was in a very comfortable zone. The objective was to stay concentrated for the whole event and also perform at a high level. It really augurs well for the three-metre."

The Laval, Que., diver, became the youngest Commonwealth champion at age 13 in Kuala Lumpur 1998 and reaffirmed himself at the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee Aquatics Complex. The three-time gold medallist also has Olympic silver from Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Despatie said. "Hopefully I have a bit more to give. At 25 years of age it's weird being called a veteran."

In the three-metre synchro event, Abel and Heymans received 318.90 points to earn the victory over Australia's Briony Cole and Sharleen Stratton. It was an impressive performance for the duo from Quebec, who secured their first major international title together as a synchro pair.

"We showed today we can dive very well under any circumstances," said Heymans, a three-time Olympic medallist. "This event was a direct final so that made it a little bit stressful because we had to find our boundaries quickly. But once on the board we could put that aside and focus on our dives."

Perfection for Bhullar

In men's wrestling, Bhullar beat Indian rival Joginder Kumar for the 120-kilogram gold medal.

"I've been training for eight years and I've seen this over and over in my mind," Bhullar said. "I saw this match over and over in my head. I knew it would be down to me and India."

The 24-year-old from Richmond, B.C. drove Kumar out of the ring in the first period and sealed the victory in the second by pinning him to the mat.

Bhullar's win briefly prevented the host country from increasing its second-place gold medal advantage over England and Canada. But it also delighted those who were cheering for the son of Avtar Bhullar, a former professional wrestling star who migrated to Canada from an Indian village called Bhullar. Family and friends from India and Canada attended the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

"I was born in Canada and owe a lot to Canada, but India is always where my roots are," said Bhullar, who trains at Simon Fraser University under coach Dave McKay.

In the 66-kilogram division, Chris Pickett of Guelph, Ont., defeated Pakistan's Muhammad Salman to earn the bronze medal.

Falaiye wins gold

In the women's long jump, Falaiye earned the gold medal with a jump of 6.50 metres at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The Brampton, Ont., native finished ahead of hometown favourite Prajusha Maliakkal and was also joined on the podium by Pickering, Ont., native Tabia Charles who won bronze.

In the high jump, Forrester won the gold with a jump of 1.91 metres. Guelph's Josh Cassidy rounded out the day for the track team by earning a bronze medal for his performance in the 1,500-metre wheelchair classification.

Other events

* Canada came within two minutes of upsetting New Zealand in men's field hockey. Gabbar Singh of Surrey, B.C. scored in the 19th minute. But New Zealand equalized when Hayden Shaw scored on a short corner, earning a berth in the Tuesday semifinal against Australia.

* In women's lawn bowling, Josephine Lee of Burnaby, B.C., won her first match against Norforlk Island's Carmen Anderson but lost her second to Farzana Khan of India. In men's action, Ryan Bester of Hanover, Ont., won his match against Peter Juni of New Guinea.

* The Canadian rugby sevens team take the pitch for the first time on Monday. They will face the New Zealand All Blacks, who have not lost a match at the Commonwealth Games since 1998.


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