Ness Murby kicked off the para-athletic trials in Edmonton in style on Thursday, winning the women’s discus with a toss of 29.58m to meet the Paralympics qualification standard.
Incredibly, the 30-year-old is ranked in the top eight in the world in four sports (discus, javelin, shotput and powerlifting). Murby, who competes in the F11 category, won bronze in the discus at last years Parapan Ams in Toronto. Rio would be the Melbourne, Australia native’s first Paralympic Games and she couldn’t hide her delight.
Current 2015 Canadian record holder in the F38 category, Renée Foessel threw a 29.66m but Albert’s Jennifer Brown managed only 28.24m, well below her personal best. Both athletes had previously met the qualification standard but Brown, who competes in the same class as Foessel, will have to wait on selection. She is also competing in the shotput at the trials, an event in which she is the F38 Canadian record holder.
In the men’s event, Parapan Am gold medallist Kevin Strybosh tossed a massive 45.72 to meet the F37 qualification standard.
George Quarcoo ran fastest (11.49) in the men’s 100m preliminary round. A field of eight will run in Saturday’s final.
In the women’s 100m final, the top three were separated by five hundredths of a second. Catherine Partlow (13:58) beat Larissa Brown (13:59) to the post with Marissa Papaconstantinou not far behind (13:63).
The men’s 1500m saw two great battles for first and third place. Thomas Des Brisay (4:16.57) held off Liam Stanley (4:17.86) and Nick Neri (4:21.85) got the better of Shayne Dobson (4:22.59)
Alister McQueen (right) narrowly missed out on an A-class qualifying standard but threw the javelin 47.80m and 47.60m to secure two B-class times. If selected, Rio will be a second Paralympics for the 25-year-old, who finished seventh in the 2012 Games in London. McQueen also runs the 100m and 200m.
Former paracanoe athlete Dave Waters threw 25.41m
Less than two years after taking up the sport, Regina’s Janz Stein smashed through the qualifying standard for the T44 long jump, flying out to 6.10m. The 34-year-old was a high level MMA fighter until a dirt bike accident in 2011. He has ranked as high as 11th in the world for long jump.
Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Michelle Stilwell (left) finished in 19.63 in the 100m T52 wheelchair race. Stilwell, also an MLA in British Columbia is the world record holder for the 100-metre distance. T34-racer Djami Diallo came in a close second at 21.36.
Meanwhile, Ilana Dupont was busy careening under the qualifying standard in the T53 class, finishing the 100m in 18.22. The Quebec native won silver in the same event at the 2015 Parapan Am Games.
On the men’s side of things, Austin Smeenk just missed out on the 100m A-class standard in 16.84 but the 19-year-old from Oakville, Ontario will almost certainly be heading to Rio after making the time in the 800m, making up for the disappointment of the Parapan Ams in Toronto, where his event was cut at the last moment.
Nova Scotian Ben Brown (left) topped the order in the 100m T53 class, with a time of 16.08, followed by Jean-Phillip Maranda and Wes Vick. In the T54 class, Curtis Thom will have to hold his breath to see if he will make the team for what will be his third Paralympics, after finished the 100m in 15.01.
Over the 1500m distance, Diane Roy was the sole competitor in the T54 class. The veteran of five Paralympic Games recorded a time of 3:50.49.
Triple Parapan Am gold medallist Alexandre Dupont (right) topped the T54 800m in a time of 1:40.61. Josh Cassidy will likely join him in Rio.
Guillaume Ouellet (left) is nailed on for a spot on the plane to Rio after running the 5000m in 15:05.35. Jason Dunkerley, who took silver in the event in London in 2012 will have to wait to see if he’s made the team for his fifth Paralympics.
Photo credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee / Athletics Canada