Nathan Riech wins gold on final day of World Para Athletics Championships

Canadian Paralympic Committee

July 17, 2023

+Weekend recap: Canada wins two gold at Para triathlon World Cup

Nate Riech

PARIS – Nathan Riech led Canada to a four-medal performance on Monday with the gold medal in the men’s T38 1500m to conclude the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships.

Monday’s output concludes a very successful championships for the Canadians. The team won 14 medals (two gold, seven silver and five bronze), it’s best performance since 15 podiums at the 2013 worlds in Lyon.

In the overall medal standings Canada tied for eighth with three other countries. China, Brazil, USA were 1-2-3.

The Canadian team also nailed down 10 qualification spots for Paris 2024. Canadian athletes set four Americas records and 12 Canadian records in Paris. 

In a tactical men’s T38 1500 for ambulatory runners, Riech, unbeatable in the event since 2018 and the world record holder, successfully defended his world crown in four minutes and 03.07. Reece Langdon of Australia was second in 4:04.30 and his compatriot Angus Hincksman third in 4:05.18. Liam Stanley of Victoria was seventh in 4:09.28.

“I was up front way harder than I thought, so I tried to really crank up that pace,” said Riech, also the Paralympic Games champion. ”Thankfully, it opened up for me in the last 100 metres and I may have lost my mind with a few metres to go. It’s one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had as part of Team Canada.” 

“I can’t wait for Paris 2024.”

Two Canadians added silver.  Noah Vucsics of Calgary in the men’s T20 long jump and Renee Foessel of Barrie, Ont., in the women’s F38 discus. Blade runner Marissa Papaconstantinou of Toronto took the bronze in the women’s T64 200m.

In the T20 long jump, Vucsis set a Canadian and continental record on his first jump of 7.35 metres to take an early lead. He was surpassed Abdul Latif Romly of Malaysia who reached 7.40 metres on his second jump. Athnasios Prodromou of Greece was third at 7.12.
“To be here and compete with these guys – my first World Championships – and walk away with a medal … I’m pretty excited about that,” Vucsics said. “I’m just a bit disappointed because I wasn’t  consistent getting over seven metres, but I did really well on my first one, stayed in the mix and pushed to the podium.”

Foessel saw her world record disappear as Simone Kruger of South Africa increased it to 38.10 metres on her sixth and final attempt for the gold. Foessel, leading up to that point, was second with a season’s best 37.01. Jennifer Brown of Calgary was ninth.

“It was a representation of what my coach and I have manifested the past few years and we put our plan into execution,” Foessel said. “There are no words to explain the feeling right now. I’m beyond proud of what my coach and I have done. I’m getting emotional because of how much we have put into this over the year.”

Papaconstantinou also set a season’s best 27.23 in her final for her second bronze of the week in the T64 200m. Irmgard Bensusan of Germany won the gold in a meet record 26.82. Kimberly Alkemade of the Netherlands followed in 27.06.

“It feels great to be bringing home another medal for Canada, but I am really bummed for my competitor,” Papaconstantinou said. ”She fought hard to the finish. I think I put out the best race I could have. I fought hard to the finish line and I gave everything I had.”

Other Canadian results Monday for the women were Amanda Rummery of Edmonton sixth in the T47 200m in a season’s best 26.61 and Natalie Thirsk of Edmonton sixth in the T38 400.

For the men, double medallist Austin Smeenk of Oakvile, Ont., was fourth in the T34 800m , Cody Fournier of Victoria sixth in the T51 200m in a personal best 42.00 and Michael Barber of Victoria ninth in the T20 1500m with a personal best 3:58.64.

Wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., led the Canadian medal haul with a gold and two silver.

Canada wins two gold at Para triathlon World Cup

Canadian Paralympians Kamylle Frenette of Dieppe, N.B., and Jessica Tuomela of Victoria posted victories this past Friday at the Para Triathlon World Cup in Long Beach, Calif.

Frenette won the women’s PT5 category decisively in in one hour and nine minutes and four seconds, more than 12 minutes ahead of her closest pursuer Petra Levay of Hungary. Leah Kaplan of the U.S. was third.

The 27-year-old Acadian posted the fastest times in all three sections: the 750m swim, the 20km cycle and the five km run.

‘’Obviously there were some big names not here but it’s still a win and I’m very happy,’’ Frenette told Acadie Nouvelle. ‘’It was nice to swim in the ocean, I feel more in control in salted water. It’s a pleasant course except for the cycling on which there were many potholes.’’

In the women’s visually impaired race, Tuomela and her guide Emma Skaug were almost two minutes ahead of the runners-up clocking 1:11.35. McLain Mermes of the U.S. was second and Maggie Sandals of Australia third.

‘’Incredible racing experience at Long Beach Para World Cup,’’ wrote Tuomela on her Instagram page. ‘’It’s so fun to be surrounded by athletes motivated by the love of the sport.’’

The next big event for the Canadian Para triathlon athletes is the Paralympic Games test event August 18 in Paris, which is also part of the World Cup circuit.

Rob Shaw makes Wimbledon debut

In wheelchair tennis, Rob Shaw had a memorable week as he made his career debut at Wimbledon in the quad events.

After being eliminated in singles in the quarterfinal, the 2019 Parapan Am Games champion lost in the final in quad doubles with his partner Heath Davidson of Australia. They fell 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 to world number-one Niels Vink and Sam Shroeder of the Netherlands.

On top of that, Shaw, ranked third in the world in doubles and seventh in singles, was featured in the Globe and Mail last week as well as TSN and CTV news.

“It’s really amazing playing at these majors,’’ he said. ‘’Something I dreamed about doing for several years.

“I never thought I’d have the opportunity.”

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