Thursday, Feb 22nd, 2018

Mabou’s Siobhan MacDonald brings home bronze medal in sailing

Posted on August 17, 2017 T.J. Colello, Cape Breton Post

Siobhan MacDonald of Mabou accepts her bronze medal in 2.4m para mix sailing Aug. 4 in Winnipeg. MacDonald, 19, was chosen as flag bearer for Team Nova Scotia during the opening ceremonies. Communications Nova Scotia/Len Wagg

From being chosen as flag-bearer for Team Nova Scotia to bringing home a bronze medal, the first week at the Canada Games couldn’t have gone any better for Siobhan MacDonald.

The 19-year-old from Mabou concluded her time in Winnipeg with a bronze in the 2.4m para mix sailing competition.

“It’s really hard to believe, that’s for sure,” she said. “This is what I thought would be the best possible situation, so I’m definitely surprised how well it went. It’s just good to know that a lot of years of hard work paid off.

“It’s almost a bit relieving. It was a long week for sure and really long days on the water, but I had my goals in mind, so I just had to keep the focus up all week and I guess it worked.”

MacDonald was in position for a bronze medal after four days of racing entering what was supposed to be the final day Aug. 4 at Gimli Yacht Club, but due to a lack of wind, the day’s competition was called off.

“The top three of us were really close in points, so it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if we had those races, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” said MacDonald, who was born missing her right leg above the knee, left arm above the elbow and part of her right hand.

The conditions on the water were a mix, said MacDonald.

“Sunday and Monday were lighter-winded days, very shifty and hard conditions to sail in for sure,” she said. “Come Tuesday, there was 1.5-metre waves and getting up to over 20 knots (37 km/h), something you’d see out in the ocean here. That happened to be my best day of racing. I won both of the races that day. Everyone was picking on me that I liked the waves a bit.

“It was definitely a mix of all conditions, which is what you hope for going into a regatta like that.”

Overall, Nova Scotia took home 15 medals in the opening week, with the sailing team winning a gold and a silver to go along with MacDonald’s bronze. Nova Scotia’s women’s soccer team, which features Beatrice Currie of Sydney River and Olivia MacIntyre and Becca LeBlanc of Sydney, won a bronze medal.

In the fall, MacDonald will head back to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., where she’s a member of the sailing team. She plans on attending the International Federation of Disabled Sailing World Championships in 2018, and hopes the sport gets reinstated at the 2024 Paralympic Games.

Competition for Week 2 at the Games got underway Aug. 7.

Brooke Hawley of Port Hood is a member of Nova Scotia’s women’s softball team that opened with a 13-1 setback to British Columbia. Hawley, a 19-year-old shortstop, had a hit and scored her team’s only run in the loss. Later in the day, Nova Scotia fell to 0-2 with an 8-1 loss to Alberta.

Also competing during Week 2 will be wrestler Jade Wilkie of Cape North.

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