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Port Coquitlam Olympian to play for bronze medal

Port Coquitlam softball player contributes two runs in Canada's 8-1 win over Italy at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The win puts the team into the bronze medal game against Mexico later tonight.
Jennifer Salling Pot Coquitlam Softball Canada
Port Coquitlam's Jenn Salling will be playing for a bronze medal when her Canadian national softball team faces Mexico tonight at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Port Coquiltam’s Jenn Salling will play for a bronze medal when her Canadian women’s softball team faces Mexico tonight to determine third place in the Olympic softball tournament.

Salling hit an RBI single in the fifth inning and then scored herself on a throwing error in Canada’s 8-1 victory over Italy in the team’s final preliminary round game that was called after six innings because of a mercy rule that concludes a game if a side has a seven-run lead at the end of an inning.

The win was Canada’s third against two losses. One of those wins was a 4-0 shutout of Mexico in which Salling hit a homerun and Surrey pitcher Sara Groenewegen pitched a no-hitter for four innings.

Salling, who played shortstop for Canada the last time softball was part of the Summer Olympics in 2008 — when the team finished fourth — has spent much of the past four years dedicated to fulfilling her dream of winning a medal by learning her new position at first base and honing her hitting with a batting coach in Florida.

The dedication has paid dividends, as the now-34-year-old player also contributed a two-run double in a 7-1 win over Australia and a single in a 1-0 loss to Japan.

Tonight’s game begins at 9 p.m. PDT, and it can be viewed in its entirety on CBC’s Gem streaming service or on its special Olympics website.

Meanwhile, Terry Fox secondary grad Ryan Sclater is hoping to help get his Canadian men’s volleyball team into the win column when it faces Iran on Wednesday.

Canada is 0-2 in the 12-team tournament after losses to Japan and Italy. The top four teams in each of the two six-team pools advance to the single-elimination medal round.

In 2016, Canada finished fifth at the Games in Rio de Janeiro after a 24-year absence from Olympic competition.

Another Fox secondary grad, Jasmin Duehring, will see her first action in the women’s team pursuit track cycling event on Aug. 2.

Duehring was born in Germany but moved to Canada when she was eight years old after her father took a teaching job at Simon Fraser University. She took up cycling after hip injuries curtailed her love for running and won a bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio.