Canada Games

B.C. takes a slim lead over Ontario into second week

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The Canadian Press
8/23/2009 12:09:53 PM
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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. -- B.C.'s team at the Canada Summer Games hopes to ride the momentum of a strong first week into Week 2 of competition, but knows it has a mighty force in Ontario right on its heels.

B.C. led the race for the Canada Games Flag at the end of Week 1 on Sunday, the turnaround point when the athletes from the first week have departed and the Week 2 athletes are getting settled in.

"B.C. had one of its best first weeks in history," said B.C.'s chef de mission Ajay Patel. "Now it's up to the second week to carry on that momentum."

Canada Games awards a Flag to the top province based on points scored by every athlete, not just top-three finishes.

B.C. has 159 points heading into Week 2, while Ontario, the 2005 Flag winner, is right behind them with 155. Quebec has 139.

Those three are the only provinces that have ever won the Flag.

B.C. finished the first week with a flourish, playing in four of Saturday's five gold-medal games, capturing gold in women's soccer and softball, silver in women's basketball with a loss to Alberta, and silver in men's rugby in an upset loss to Ontario. Quebec won gold in men's basketball with a thrilling victory at the buzzer over Nova Scotia.

B.C. swept the triathlon individual and team gold medals earlier in the week in the sport's Canada Games debut, while Ontario dominated in rowing, capturing eight gold medals on the Southwest River in Clinton.

Quebec was the class of the field in diving, winning a Canada Games-record 17 medals in the sport along with 15 medals in cycling.

Quebec leads the medal standings with 48, while B.C. and Ontario are tied for second with 45.

Ontario's chef de mission Blair McIntosh said the province traditionally fairs better during the second week of the Games.

"There are a lot of Flag points up for grabs in the second week, in sports such as swimming and track," McIntosh said. "It's going to make for an exciting second week."

Along with swimming and track and field, other Week 2 sports are baseball, men's soccer, volleyball, women's wrestling, and canoe/kayak, and golf, which is making its Canada Games debut.

These are the first Canada Games that have been hosted by a province rather than a city, with venues dotted across the island. Week 1 athletes were housed at a former air force base at Slemon Park in Summerside, while UPEI in Charlottetown serves as the athletes village for Week 2.

Week 1 included a couple of swine flu scares. Two athletes were quarantined with flu-like symptoms but their test results came back negative for the H1N1 virus and they returned to their teams.

There were concerns over hurricane Bill, which was due to hit P.E.I. on Sunday. But the storm's timing couldn't have been better as no competitions were scheduled for Sunday. The weather didn't affect travel plans as the Week 1 athletes flew out of Summerside on Saturday evening, while the Week 2 athletes arrived Saturday.

Games officials say they have alternate venues that can be used if the storm causes significant damage to a site, such as flooding. Baseball, for example, which is scheduled for Victoria Park in Charlottetown, could be moved back to Summerside, where women's softball was held.

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