Kudos to Curtis Thom and Alexandre Dupont for closing Friday’s para-athletic trials action in Edmonton in spectacular fashion.
The two T54 wheelchair racers treated the crowd at Foote Field to a highly competitive 400-metre final. Just one eighth of a second —essentially half a wheel — separated the two elite para-athletes. Thom ultimately prevailed with a time of 49.55 seconds while Dupont crossed the finish line at 49.63.
While their results are over two seconds shy (47.20) of meeting the A-class Paralympics qualification standard, their times did meet the B-class yardstick (50.00).
Both men participated in the 400-metre final at the 2012 Games in London. Thom finished in ninth place and Dupont finished twelfth.They will both receive strong consideration to make the 2016 Canadian Paralympic Team that is expected to be named on July 25.
Dupont has already qualified to compete for Canada at the Paralympics in the 800-metre and 1500-metre event.
Men’s Shot Put
Ken Trudgeon (left) put himself in prime position to be named to his first Paralympic team by meeting the A-class Paralympic standard with a shot put throw of 13.85 metres. The 27-year-0ld, who competes in the F46 classification, finished bronze in the men’s shot put at the 2015 Toronto Parapan American Games.
Finishing second behind Trudgeon was Josh Farrell, who finished gold in the men’s shot put in Toronto. Farrell’s throw of 13.60 metres on Friday met the F20 classification standard.
Womens 400-Metre Race
Madison Wilson-Walker and Leah Robinson’s (pictured left) runs on Friday morning will likely earn them each an invitation to represent Canada in Brazil.
Both runners met the Paralympic qualification standard in their respective classifications: Wilson-Walker easily shattered the T43 benchmark (1:20.00) by finishing the race in 1:10.00, and Robinson’s run of 1.12:78 was good enough to meet the T37 criterion (1:13.00).
Wilson-Walker is seeking her first nomination to the Canadian Paralympic Team, while Robinson competed at the 2008 and 2012 Games.
Catherine Partlow, who finished this race first, did not meet the A-qualification standard (1:04.00)in the T20 category. Her result (1:08.60) does meet the B-qualification standard (1:10.00).
Women’s 800-Metre Wheelchair Race
There were no real stakes for Sherbrooke, Que.’s Diane Roy on Friday. The T54 middle distance wheelchair racer already qualified to compete at her sixth Paralympic Games in the 800-metre and 1500-metre race before coming to Edmonton.
The five-time Paralympics medalist finished her Rio trial race in 2:04.67, a time that falls short of the A-qualification time of 1:58.00 but meets the B-qualification standard (2:10.00).
Jessica Lewis finished second (2:07.66) and Ilana Dupont finished third (2:10.34).
T53 Wheelchair Race:
Former Olympic weightlifter Jean-Philippe Maranda (left), a native of Sainte-Aurélie, Que., is undoubtedly hoping that his performance at the trials will afford him an opportunity to compete alongside his world champion teammate Brent Lakatos in the T53 event at the Rio Games.
Maranda, who also competes in the 100-metre and 400-metre distances, did fall short of the A-qualification standard (52:00), but his time of 53.94 did meet the B-qualification standard (56.20). His best ever time in this event is 52:09, a result he attained at a competition in Indianapolis, Indiana earlier this year.
Two-time Boston marathon runner Wes Vick (Toronto, Ont.) also met the B-qualification standard by completing the race in 56.13.