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Australia wins Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships


Team Canada place fourth but Michael Qing emerges as a star – and Truro’s Matthew Hunter ends the competition with one gold and one silver medal.

Team Australia won the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships in Truro this week, beating out Britain and Italy for the top spot.

The Australians’ final points tally was 715, followed by Britain’s 684 and Italy’s 609. Team Canada missed out on a place in the top three with a final score of just 458.

Australian head coach John Beckworth said that his side won numerous individual medals and the depth in his team came through in their strong relay race results, as well as more than 100 personal best times.

I always admire athletes with a disability and often I don’t see them as being any different to able-bodied athletes. They train just as hard, they perform to their best and that’s what sport’s all about,” said Beckworth.

One Canadian athlete who took that message on board was Canadian swimmer Michael Qing, who won best male athlete in the mosaic category, for athletes with the milder form of Down Syndrome.

Winner of the female mosaic category was Britain’s Ellen Stephenson.

The T21 male winner was Aran Miller from Australia and the female winner was Mexico’s Dunia Camacho, for the athletes with the most common type of Down Syndrome.

Australia’s star swimmer did not make female athlete of the meet, but nonetheless won five gold and two bronze medal in her races.

“She’ll always be our champion,” said Beckworth.

Truro’s local champion Matthew Hunter won one gold and one silver in his races and his coaches said that he also improved his personal best times during the competition.

“What’s significant is that at 30 years old he’s recorded a number of best times at this meet, so to be able to do that is a wonderful testament to his coaches and to the training he’s put in to get ready for the meet,” said Matthew’s father Joel Hunter.

Team Canada coach Darcy Irwin was also pleased, saying that Canada’s fourth place was their best result ever and hoped to one day win the top title for their country.

He added that the team had shared too many proud moments “to even name.”

“I’m holding back tears right now,” said Irwin.

While Canada did not win, their athletes enjoyed a consolation prize of sorts, as Irwin’s fellow coach Sallie Szanik celebrated her 77th birthday with a large cake after the last swimming races ended at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

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