Athletes with ties to the Cowichan Valley have experienced a wide range of results during the first week of competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Duncan’s own Patrick Kay helped the national men’s rugby sevens team to a respectable eighth-place finish in their tournament, getting himself on the scoresheet along the way.
The Canadian men opened with back-to-back losses against Great Britain and eventual gold-medallists Fiji on July 26, but beat hosts Japan 36-12 in their last pool game to qualify for the elimination round. Kay slotted his only conversion attempt in Canada’s victory over Japan.
Kay scored a try in the 14th minute of Canada’s first playoff game against the eventual silver medallists, New Zealand, but it wasn’t enough as Canada lost 21-10. The Canadians then lost 21-14 to the U.S., and 26-7 to Australia in the seventh-place match.
Brentwood College School graduate Sydney Payne remains in medal contention along with Canada’s women’s eights rowing crew. The Canadian women finished second to New Zealand in their heat on July 24 and went into the repechage. The repechage was delayed by weather until Wednesday, but Canada again finished second behind Romania to earn a berth in the final on Friday. The women’s eights final will run on Friday, July 30 at 6:50 p.m. Pacific Time.
Payne’s connections to the Cowichan Valley go beyond Brentwood and her training on Quamichan Lake, as her great-grandparents Kate and Ambrose Payne lived in Honeymoon Bay, where Ambrose worked in the sawmill, and her grandfather Bill Payne grew up in Honeymoon Bay and went to high school in Duncan. Another great-grandfather, David Duekers, was instrumental in the beginnings of lawn bowling in Duncan.
Another Brentwood grad, Andre Jin Coquillard, was part of the South Korean men’s rugby sevens team that finished 12th in that tournament, and scored a try in South Korea’s 42-5 loss to Australia. Coquillard was the first Brentwood grad to represent a country other than Canada at the Olympics.
Matthew Sharpe, who spent a year at Brentwood before relocating to Victoria to train full-time, placed 49th in the men’s triathlon.
Singapore rower Joan Poh, who is coached by Brentwood head coach and two-time Olympic medallist Laryssa Biesenthal, placed sixth in her women’s single sculls heat. Poh finished fourth in her repechage heat and third in the E/F semifinal to qualify for the E final this Friday.