Hot start to season for Canada’s Para triathletes as home race looms

Canadian Paralympic Committee

July 05, 2022

Next international event is July 8 in Montreal


The life of a high-performance athlete is filled with its ups and downs.

Even a multiple world champion like Para triathlete Stefan Daniel gets the blues, particularly when the dream of Paralympic Games gold becomes so intense that an exceptional third place in Tokyo is initially considered somewhat disappointing.

Daniel entered the Games as a four-time world champion, so he wanted to complete the crowning as the best in his sport in the Japanese capital.

‘’It was a disappointment for me getting third in Tokyo,” said the 25-year-old Calgarian, born with bilateral radial club hands with his right arm significantly more affected. ‘’I really wanted that gold medal.

‘’I took a longer break than normal after the Games. I went into a bit of a down period which I think is pretty normal for any athlete after a Games, especially when it didn’t go the way you wanted.”

Fast forward a few months later and you’d never know Daniel was in a bit of a funk over the winter. At the 2022 season opening event in Besancon, France earlier this month, he won silver in the PTS5 class placing second to his archrival and two time Games champion Martin Schulz of Germany by almost two minutes.

A week later in Coruna, Spain, Daniel bettered his time by a minute and won gold in a race that had went wayward for him early on.

‘’I went to Europe without any expectations,’’ said Daniel, who went off track in the swimming portion then rebounded with the best cycling leg of his career in Spain.

‘’It was an opportunity to see where I stand with my fitness, but in Spain I felt like my old self again. It was all super exciting and a positive piece to take back with me. The worlds are only in November, so I have a lot of time still.”

At those two European stops, Kamylle Frenette of Dieppe, N.B. blasted to third-place finishes. Frenette, fourth at her first Paralympics in Tokyo, completed her university degree in pharmaceutical studies this past spring at Dalhousie University.

She was also a frontline worker during the pandemic and delivered COVID-19 vaccinations in Nova Scotia while continuing her training and preparation for the Paralympic Games. She now works at a pharmacy in Halifax.

‘’I would have to say I’m a bit surprised with my results in Europe,’’ said Frenette, who turns 26 next week. She was born with club foot, with her right foot two sizes smaller than her left, which reduces her mobility.

‘’The last few months were busy for me to finish my degree, so I didn’t feel I was fully focused on my sport entering the World Cups. But my coaches did a great job getting me ready in a short period of time and I have to say it went better than I thought it would.’’

Both Daniel and Frenette will be among the Canadian contingent at the World Triathlon Para Series event set for Montreal on July 8 at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The swimming portion takes place at the basin, the cycling on the F1 track and the running on the path alongside the basin.

‘’I’m really excited about the race in Montreal,’’ said Daniel. ‘’It’s always exciting to race in Canada. I have family and friends coming out to watch. It’s going to be a strong field and I just want to carry that momentum.”

The Para triathlon races get underway at 7:30 a.m. ET.

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