ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (GNB) – Team Canada-New Brunswick completed the VIIIth Jeux de la Francophonie with five medals following the two won in sculpture and photography today, the last day of competitions for artists and athletes in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Émilie Lavoie, of Edmundston, won the silver medal in sculpture while Moncton’s Annie-France Noël won bronze in photography.

Lavoie was surprised to get on the second step of the podium.

“I did not believe it. I asked Rebecca if I needed to climb on the podium,’’ Lavoie said. “There were many varied works of art and it was difficult to identify what the judges were looking for. I believe the material used, ceramics, is not often seen in sculpture. The details and the subject of the work possibly influenced the jury members. I also did a collective work during the games, requesting the visiting public to do small sculptures which were then included in a larger work. The medal is a recognition of my work and encourages to continue.”

“I am very surprised to have received a medal,” said Noël. “I am proud of my work and what I accomplished. This is what I had in mind and it is a great feeling to be recognized this way. I work with photographic material and took the pictures of five women in my group. I ripped the photos and created a mosaic to celebrate women. When I heard my name and the reasons given for the medal, including sensitivity and women, I figured it could be me. I was overwhelmed and moved. I was caught in the emotion of the moment and happy to get up on the podium. The games were a positive experience and I was able to interact with people from around the world. I was able to communicate in my language and it was incredible. This will nourish, artistically, me for years to come.”

Barry Britt was 8th on Thursday in the 5000 metre run.

“My time was not great, but it was a championship race in Africa,” said Britt. “The beginning was slow, but I was happy with my time. I wanted to beat a few other Canadians and I was able to achieve that. I took the rhythm and I wanted get into the first lane, but I did not get there. I had fun and I was impressed and excited when I entered the stadium with such a large number of spectators. I decided to focus on the 5000 metre run and decided not to participate in the 1500 metre and the 10,000 metre.”

The other medalists were Shelley Doucet, who won gold in the marathon, Gabriel Robichaud, who won silver in literature, and Samantha Stewart, who won bronze in wrestling. Members of the delegation will arrive at the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport on Tuesday, Aug. 1, in the afternoon.

The three culture medals are the most won in any games by Team Canada-New Brunswick. The team won six medals, overall, in Madagascar (1997) and Nice (2013).

Economic Development Minister Francine Landry, who is also minister responsible for La Francophonie, presented some medals today. She will be on stage on Sunday at the closing ceremonies to receive the games flag for the next ones slated for Moncton and Dieppe in 2021.