Saanich duo sail to silver at Paralympics

Jackie Gay and John McRoberts finish second in the SKUD 18 keelboat over 11 races in Rio

John McRoberts and Jackie Gay will be coming back to Vancouver Island with some silver medals

John McRoberts and Jackie Gay will be coming back to Vancouver Island with some silver medals

A Saanich husband and wife team are returning from Rio with a pair of silver medals in the Paralympic sailing competition.

Jackie Gay and John McRoberts placed second overall in their SKUD18 keelboat across 11 races at the Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay. The duo were only bested by the Australian team of Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch, who finished first in eight of the 11 races, and second in the remaining three.

Gay and McRoberts came out swinging, taking first in the second race by four-hundredths of a second. They kept pushing throughout the week, finishing second in the seventh and ninth races, and third in the third, fourth and 11th races.

Rio also marked the first time the local couple has competed together at the Paralympics. McRoberts previously placed fourth in London and second in Beijing with Victoria athlete Stacie Louttit.

The local pair are among six B.C. athletes who medalled at the 2016 Paralympics, contributing to Canada’s total of 29 medals.

Other provincial athletes include Michelle Stilwell of Parksville (gold in Women’s 100m T51/52 and Women’s 400m T52), Liam Stanley of Victoria (silver in Men’s 1500m T37), Tristan Smyth of Maple Ridge (bronze in Men’s 4x400m Relay T53/54) and Tristen Chernove of Cranbrook (gold in Men’s Time Trial C2, silver in Men’s C2 3000m Individual Pursuit and bronze in Men’s C1-2-3 1000m Time Trial).

“This province is very proud of our Paralympic athletes and their success on the world stage,” said Premier Christy Clark in a statement.

“It takes courage, hard work and dedication to compete in the Paralympic Games, and these athletes demonstrated remarkable poise as they competed and brought admiration home to our entire country – along with an impressive number of medals.”