Five to watch in Para athletics at Canadian track and field championships

Canadian Paralympic Committee

June 28, 2018

Five to watch in Para athletics at Canadian track and field championships

Brent Lakatos


OTTAWA – Canada’s biggest names in Para athletics, including Athletics Canada’s 2017 Athlete of the Year Brent Lakatos, are set to compete at the Canadian track and field championships July 3-8 at Terry Fox Stadium in Ottawa.

The Para athletics events are scheduled from July 4-6 with competition scheduled for both the morning and evening sessions. The full schedule and ticket info is available here. 

More than 100 Para athletes will be battling for national titles. Here are five that are off to strong starts in 2018:

Brent Lakatos

In 2018, wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos has focused his training on the road for upcoming marathons and other long distance races. However his season started on the track at the Swiss Grand Prix where the Dorval, Que., native earned gold in the 800m, silver in the 400m and bronze in the 5000m. A week later, he collected three more medals at the Swiss Open including a Canadian record time for the T53 5000m.

At the 2017 World Championships, Lakatos notched four gold medals (100, 200, 400 and 800m). He entered the worlds on the strength of four world record performances at spring meets.

He also collected four medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio with gold in the 100m, silver in the 400m and bronze in the 800m and 4x400m relay.

Austin Smeenk

Austin Smeenk seems to make progress each season. In 2018, the 21-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. kicked off the track campaign with silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m in the T34 wheelchair race at the Swiss Open.

He neared the world championship podium in 2017 with top-five finishes in the 100m and 200m. At the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 he was in two finals.

Alexandre Dupont

In 2018 at the Commonwealth Games, Dupont won the gold medal in the men’s 1500m wheelchair race upsetting local favorite Kurt Fearnley. In 2016, he helped Canada to the bronze medal in the 4x400m relay at the Paralympic Games. His wife Ilana Dupont will also race in the women’s wheelchair events.

Jessica Frotten

After a subpar performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Jessica Frotten bounced back with a triple medal performance at the Swiss Grand Prix. The 30-year-old T53 wheelchair racer from Whitehorse took silver in the 400m and bronze medals in the 200m and 800m.

Marissa Papaconstantinou

Along with Smeenk, Papaconstantinou is one of Canada’s fastest rising young stars in Para athletics. The 18-year-old leg amputee sprinter from Toronto has already participated at two world championships and the 2016 Paralympic Games posting top-10 finishes in her events.

Other favourites include Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and six-time Paralympian Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Que., in the women’s T54 wheelchair races, Boston Marathon record holder Josh Cassidy of Guelph, Ont., two-time world championship throwing medallist Pam LeJean of Halifax, visually impaired running world champ Guillaume Ouellet of Victoriaville, Que., and world and Paralympic Games running silver medallist Liam Stanley of Victoria.

The competition will be live streamed here.  

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