Vancouver table tennis player Stephanie Chan won Canada’s first medal at the Parapan American Games on Saturday.
Chan, Canada’s oldest athlete in Santiago at 66, clinched a bronze medal when she lost her S6-7 combined class semifinal match to Giselle Munoz of Spain 11-1, 11-4, 11-3 on the official first day of competition.
’Today I wasn’t feeling well,” said Chan, who will undergo heart surgery after the Games. ‘’I had some problems with my breathing. (Giselle) played well but this heart problem did not allow me to play a lot this year.’’
Munoz will meet Claudia Perez of Mexico in the gold-medal match. Perez, the defending champion, received a bye to final because she was first in the preliminary round.
Chan is now a six-time medallist at the Parapan Am Games, including one gold, two silver, and three bronze.
‘’I’m so excited about the medal,” she added. ‘’After surgery I’ll come again to practice table tennis and be at the next Parapan Ams.’’
Canadian national team coach Dejan Papic lauded Chan’s courage.
‘’She found the strength to compete once again for the Canadian team,’’ said Papic. ‘’Considering her condition at these Games this may have been her best achievement. She did much more than we expected.’’
Chan can add to her medal haul later this week when she competes in mixed doubles with Asad Hussain Syed of Toronto.
Canada has a total of 135 athletes in Santiago, competing in 14 different sports.
The Games continue until Nov. 26.
The Canadian Press