Canadian Lightning team ready to strike at Pan Am Games

Canadian Lightning team ready to strike at Pan Am Games

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - Kingston, ON

The Lightning is a three-person sailing dinghy considered to be one of the most popular and competitive racing classes in the world. At Toronto 2015, Canada will be represented in this mixed class by three of its finest sailors: Jamie Allan, Chantal Leger and Jay Deakin. The Montreal-based trio, led by skipper Allan, will be the only Quebec based sailors competing at the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Leger approaches Toronto 2015 with a wealth of major Games experience under her belt, including the 2004 Athens Olympics (sailing 470) , and a fourth place finish in the Lightning at the Guadalajara Pan Am Games in 2011. She is equally thrilled to be a part of this year’s Pan Am team. “Being part of any games is a great honor,” says Leger. “After many years of dedication and hard work to the sport, qualifying for Athens was incredible! I have been racing the Lightning since 1997. The fleet, the competition and its competitors are great.”

While Jamie and Jay’s Major Games experience may not equate to Leger, they are no less prepared for success at Toronto 2015. Allan’s sailing career highlights include two wins at the Canadian Open Championships, the second of which was won alongside Deakin. Deakin has also racked up a seventh place finish at the 2003 World Championships. The pair, alongside Leger, could not have asked for a better team: “Jamie and Jay are some of my oldest friends,” says Leger. “To share the Pan Am experience with them will be a new adventure in our 20+ year friendship. Jamie, Jay and I have dreamed of competing at the Pan Am games for years!” Deakin agrees, and says that it is “always a pleasure and a privilege to be on the boat with Jamie and Chantal.”

The team feels as though they have already proven their grit at the Pan Am trials, narrowly capturing the win after a tiebreaker finish. “The fact that I have never before qualified for the Pan Am Games, and the manner in which we qualified, made for a pretty dramatic trials event and a memory that will stand out for some time,” reflects Allan. What’s more impressive, is the fact that Deakin had a fractured foot, and was forced to sail with a cast on during the trials, while being unable to put weight on his foot. “It was a real testament to our team that we hung in there and found a way to win,” recounts Deakin about the threesome’s performance.

From July 12th to 19th, the Lightning team will be competing at Toronto 2015, where they hope to capture a gold medal on home turf. Sports fans can support them, along with the rest of the Canadian Sailing Team, free of charge, as all sailing events are non-ticketed. The final days of medal racing, held on the 18th and 19th, can be viewed from Sugar Beach, located in the heart of downtown Toronto.