Canada’s Smeenk, Gingras, Papaconstantinou race to Para athletics worlds medals

Fellow Canadian Anthony Bouchard to compete in finals later Thursday.

Canada’s Austin Smeenk, seen earlier at the Para athletics world championships, won silver in the men’s T34 100-metre wheelchair race on Thursday in Paris. Yonathan Kellerman/Athletics Canada

CBC Sports Paralympics July 13, 2023

Canada earned three more medals at the Para athletics world championships on Thursday.

Austin Smeenk and Zachary Gingras scored silvers, while Marissa Papaconstantinou rode a personal best to bronze.

Smeenk, of Oakville, Ont., earned his first career major championship medal earlier at the Paris meet when he took bronze in the T34 400-metre wheelchair race.

The 26-year-old impressed once again in the 100m with his time of 15.10 seconds, edging out reigning world champion Walid Ktila by one-one hundredth at the finish line.

“The race felt fantastic. The power to really execute the technique and trust my acceleration profile came from above the shoulders,” Smeenk said.

Thailand’s Chaiwat Rattana won gold with an Asian-record time of 15.01 seconds.

After winning bronze in the men’s 400 metre T34 race on Tuesday, Austin Smeenk of Oakville, Ont., won silver in the men’s 100 metre T34 race on Thursday, at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris. CBC Sports

Gingras snagged his second-place finish in the men’s T38 400m race behind American Jaydin Blackwell,

who set a world record of 48.49 seconds.

The Markham, Ont., native notched a personal-best time of 50.23 seconds to upgrade the bronze he won in the distance at the Tokyo Paralympics.

“I can’t ask for much better. That was the best race of my life and the biggest race of the year,” Gingras, 21, said.

Zachary Gingras of Markham, Ont., ran to a silver medal in the 400 metre T38 final setting a personal best time of 50.23 at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris. CBC Sports

Gingras seemed to tire in the final stretch, said that was by design.

“Fly and die. All out for the first 300 then just try to hold on. And I held on pretty well,” he said.

Iraq’s Ali Al-Rikabi won bronze.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Papaconstantinou backed up her Paralympic bronze in the women’s T64 100m with one more in Paris.

The 23-year-old blazed out of the starting blocks, taking an early lead among a stacked field. However, the Netherlands’ Fleur Jong used her long strides to run away with the gold medal in 12.47 seconds, while Spain’s Sara Andres Barrio also passed the Canadian, taking silver at 12.83 seconds.

Toronto’s Marissa Papaconstantinou ran a personal best to claim bronze in the women’s 100 metre T64 race, at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris. CBC Sports

Papaconstantinou’s time of 12.95 seconds was enough to edge out Dutch runner Kiki Hendriks, who cross in 12.99 seconds.

“It feels good to come back a couple years later after Tokyo and have a similar finish. This time I was at the front of the race, so that was new for me. It felt pretty good to get out really quick,” Papaconstantinou said.

Also, Anthony Bouchard of Québec City placed eighth in the men’s T52 400m at one minute 5.93 seconds.

Source CBC Sports


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