The pairings for the Wheelchair Tennis medal-round matches in Guadalajara, Mexico, are set after all but one of Wednesday’s (16 November) semi-final matches took just two sets to finish.
In men’s singles, Argentina’s Agustin Ledesma defeated the USA’s Stephen Welch (7-6, 6-3) and his teammate Gustavo Fernandez beat Robinson Mendez of Chile (6-1, 6-4), setting up an all-Argentinean gold-medal match on Friday. The pair also teamed up together on the doubles side to advance to the Thursday’s doubles final against Welch and American teammate Jon Rydberg.
For the women’s singles competition, the USA is guaranteed gold, as Mackenzie Soldan and Emmy Kaiser both won their semi-final contests on Wednesday and will face each other in Thursday’s final.
“I feel amazing, but I still can’t believe it,” Soldan told U.S. Paralympics. “We have played each other many times before, so I know this will be a battle. Just because we are teammates doesn’t mean we are going to take it easy on each other.”
Soldan and Kaiser, along with the Colombian duo of Angelica Bernal and Johana Martinez advanced to Friday’s women’s doubles final.
The elimination rounds began in Archery on Wednesday, as Canadian’s Kevin Evans and Robert Hudson both advanced to the finals in the Men’s Individual Compound Open and will face off against each other on Thursday.
The Women’s Individual Recurve W2 final will be a teammate test between the USA’s Natalie Wells and Lee Ford.
Canada stole the show on the court, as five of its nine athletes won medals on Wednesday, with Paul Gauthier (BC3) and Adam Dukovich (BC2) winning gold in their individual events. Marco Dispaltro (BC4) won silver and Josh Vander Vies (BC4) and Dave Richer (BC2) both won bronze.
“When you have seven of nine athletes in semi-finals, you just go into the finals with a smile on your face,” Team Canada’s head coach Mario Delisle told the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
The USA showcased its depth on the cycling track, collecting six medals at the Velodrome, including three golds. Jennifer Schuble claimed victory in the Women’s 3km Pursuit (C4-5), Allison Jones took the top spot in the same event (C1-3) and the tandem of Clark Rachfal and pilot Dave Swanson won gold in the men’s 1km Time Trial (B).
Colombia’s Esneider Munoz had a stellar performance in the Men’s Individual Pursuit (C1-3) to claim gold, as did Brazil’s Joao Schwindt in the same event (C4-5).
In Wednesday’s first-round matches, Colombia beat Mexico, 2-1, Brazil beat El Salvador, 10-0, and Argentina beat Uruguay, 1-0.
Men’s and women’s preliminary matches continued, with Brazil and Canada’s men’s squads winning big. Brazil beat Argentina, 14-4, and Canada thumped El Salvador, 11-1. The USA’s men’s team beat host nation Mexico, 10-6, and its women’s team also beat the hosts, 10-0.
The men’s Sitting Volleyball elimination-round matches are now set after Wednesday’s last round of preliminary games. Brazil and Canada played a thrilling four-setter, though Brazil closed it out with a dominant final set (25-15, 25-20, 22-25, 25-9). The two squads will meet again on Thursday in the semi-finals, while the USA and Colombia will challenge each other for the other spot in the finals. Costa Rica and Mexico will play for fifth place on Thursday.
Round-robin matches continued in Para-Table Tennis with some great matches between Mexico and Chile in the team competition. Mexico took four of five matches from Chile, as Miguel Vazquez and Rene Dominguez led the way. Round-robin play in the team competition will continue on Thursday.
The final day of preliminary matches at the CODE Alcalde ended with Canada’s men’s team trouncing Mexico, 83-57, as Pat Anderson scored 35 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Robert Hedges had 18 points for Team Canada.
In the other men’s matches, the USA beat Brazil, 80-47, Argentina beat Guatemala, 80-39, and Colombia beat El Salvador, 68-20.
Mexico’s women’s squad had a convincing 76-17 win over Peru, while the USA trounced Guatemala, 68-15.
The quarter-final round begins on Thursday with some thrilling matchups, including Canada-Mexico on the women’s side and Argentina-Colombia on the men’s side.