Paralympians race to silver and bronze on rain-soaked track in Glasgow

August 1, 2014

Canada’s Paralympians contributed to the Canadian athletics team’s medal tally Thursday night at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning silver and bronze medals in the 1500-metre wheelchair races.

Under pouring rain and heavy humidity, Diane Roy (Sherbooke, Que.) aggressively led the women’s race the entire way until edged at the finish line by Australian Angela Ballard, who finished in 3:59.20.

Diane Roy - Silver Medal in Glasgow

Photo: Claus Anderson / Athletics Canada

Roy was second in 3:59.55 and England’s Jade Jones third in 4:00.19.

“I’m happy with my race, I’m not happy with the result,” said Roy. “It was far to be in front the whole way, but it was a good thing because there was a lot of rain and when you are behind, you receive a lot of water. I started to sprint at 400 metres before the end and maybe I started to sprint too soon, it killed me at the end. But I wanted to go fast because when you sprint when it’s raining, sometimes you slip. I think I moved ahead of some people in the sprint, but not Angie.

“My goal was to win the gold, but I have to be happy with the silver in this weather. When it rains for us, it can change a lot of things.”

Alex Dupont Bronze Medallist in Glasgow

In the men’s race, Alex Dupont (Clarenceville, Que.) raced to bronze in 3.23.62. England’s David Weir won in 3:21.67 and Australia’s Kurt Fearnley was second in 3:23.08.

“I’m very, very happy,” said Dupont. “The wet track for us changes the game completely. I know for runners it does too, because it’s slipperier, but for us it can go from being the very best athlete to the worst. It changes everything dramatically. I usually do OK in the rain so I think it worked out in my favour.

“These Games have been amazing. This is the only event where our medal can count like everyone else’s so it’s an amazing opportunity for us.”

Josh Cassidy (Ottawa, Ont.) placed sixth in 3:27.24 after getting out to a fast start.

“It felt good until I was trying to max out and it was just slipping,” said Cassidy. “I obviously have more to figure out when it comes to max sprints during the rain. I’ve been working on hand speed and glove material, but I’ve still got more to figure out. Even the temperature can affect the rain and how it sticks your wheels. It’s just time and practice and experimenting and solving it.

“The crowds were awesome in there and it’s really exciting to be a part of this Canadian team again. I’m really looking forward to the big one, Rio, and Pan Ams before that, so all these are just great stepping stones to work things out for the big one that matters most.”