SANTIAGO, Chile — Before the 2023 Parapan American Games were officially underway, Vancouver's Stephanie Chan had already secured a spot in the semifinals in the table tennis competition.
The 66-year-old Chan defeated 17-year-old Kristel Morales of Costa Rica on Friday in comeback style 11-4, 9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6.
‘’So happy to get the win,” said Chan, who is competing in her fifth Parapan Am Games. ‘’It’s been four years since I’ve had a big competition. I put pressure on myself because every time I play Parapan Am I’ve won a medal. So I told myself I must win, win, win.’’
Chan already owns five Parapan Am medals including a gold in women’s singles from Toronto 2015. She also carried Canada's flag into the 2019 opening ceremony in Lima where she won bronze.
Before the Lima Games, Chan lost her mother, and her husband died in 2022. She is currently dealing with her own heart issue which will require surgery following the Games.
‘’Because my health is not so good it makes me more nervous, which is unusual for me because I’m (usually) more relaxed,” she said.
Chan joked about the age gap between herself and her opponent.
‘’I saw Kristel play last year at a tournament in Costa Rica and she’s made a huge improvement. She’s young enough to be my granddaughter,” she said.
On Friday, Chan finished the preliminary round in the women’s singles S6-7 combined class with one win and one loss, securing second spot in her pool.
She will face Giselle Munoz of Argentina in Saturday's semifinal.
The Parapan Am Games were scheduled to officially get underway on Friday night with the opening ceremony.
Canada has a total of 135 athletes at the Games, competing in 14 different sports,
The Games continue until Nov. 26.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2023.
The Canadian Press