….(Read P1)…The Canadian men will miss Curtis Hibbert, who won five gold medals in 1990, but Canada has won the team titles at both previous Commonwealth Games that featured artistic gymnastics (vault, beam, parallel and high bars, pommel horse, rings and flood events). Despite strong contingents from Australia, England, and Scotland, that streak is likely to continue in Victoria for both the women, led by Stella Umeh of Mississauga, Ont. and the men, captained by Alan Nolet of Burlington. Canada’s three-woman rhythmic gymnastics team is also favored to win gold, with Camille Martens of Vernon, B.C., leading the way. She may be challenged by up-and-coming Australian Kasumi Takahashi, only 14 but already a veteran of international competition.
Lawn bowling (Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre):
England, Australia, and New Zealand are all mad about bowls, as they call it, and they will be hard to beat in Victoria. England’s Tony Alcock is the reigning world singles champion and is expected to add the Commonwealth title as well. But Canada’s men’s fours, led by Bill Boettger of Kitchener, Ont., and women’s singles champion Jean Roney, from Regina, should contend for medals.
Shooting (Heal’s Range, Saanich):
Officials consider the current team on target to match the four gold medals Canada won at the 1990 Games. Christina Ashcroft of Courtenay, B.C., is a serious medal threat in the women’s small-bore event; George Leary of Newmarket, Ont., is the top-rated Canadian in trap shooting; Jean-Pierre Huot of Pontbriand, Que., is expected to contend in both the free and air pistol events. As in Auckland, Canada will battle England, Australia and New Zealand for team honors.
Swimming (Commonwealth Place):
Canadian swimmers have seen the enemy and they wear yellow and green. Australia is the big fish in the Commonwealth pool, and it may well take the team title. Still, the Canucks will not get wet in vain. Jessica Amey of Calgary (100-m butterfly, 50-m backstroke, 50-m butterfly, relay), Marianne Limpert of Fredericton (200-m individual medley) and Shannon Shakespeare of Winnipeg (100-m freestyle) are serious gold-medal threats. The Aussies will counter with Sarah Ryan and Karen van Wirdum. Curtis Myden of Calgary is favored to win gold in both the 200-m and 400-m individual medleys, as is Stephen Clarke of Brampton, Ont., in the 100-m freestyle. The toughest races may come in breaststroke, where Calgarian Jon Cleveland will battle Nick Gillingham of England and Phil Rogers of Australia.
Synchronized swimming (Commonwealth Place):
For Canada, this sport has the best medal-to-athlete ratio. Lisa Alexander of Mississauga and Erin Woodley of Etobicoke, Ont., are the entire team, yet Alexander is favored to win the solo gold and, with Woodley, the team event, too.
Weightlifting (Royal Theatre, Victoria):
Despite the scandal of 1990, when three weightlifters two from Wales and one from India–tested positive for steroids, weightlifting is back. Canada’s hopes rest with Yvan Darsigny of St-Hyacinthe, Que., in the 83-kg weight class, and Serge Tremblay of Dolbeau, Que., and Alain Bilodeau of St-Isodore, Que., in the 76-kg class. The international favorites hail from Wales and India.
Wrestling (Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre):
Team officials may be excused for anticipating a medal haul on the mat – Canadians stand at the top of seven of the 10 Commonwealth weight classes. But strong teams from Nigeria, India and Australia will try to keep the home team from retaining those titles. The best bets for gold include Canadians Justin Abdou (82 kg) of Moose Jaw, Sask., Marty Calder (62 kg) of St. Catharines and Paul Ragusa (48 kg) of Kingston, Ont.