DUBAI – Guillaume Ouellet’s long season started off with an injury and he hopes it ends with victory as he gets set to run in the men’s T13 5000m visually impaired race on Thursday at the World Para Athletics Championships.
Ouellet says the fact the season was extended into November may have benefited him in his preparations.
‘’At first when I heard the worlds would be in November, I was like it’s going to be a big puzzle to solve,’’ he said. ‘’I had an injury until April, so it’s like a normal seven-month season for me. So it’s weird to say being injured may have helped me.’’
It should be noted that Ouellet was injured at the 2018 nationals and saw his training derailed for seven months.
Ouellet, 33, is a stalwart on the Canadian Para athletics team. These are his fourth world championships. He won gold in the 5000 in Doha, Qatar in 2015 and followed with a bronze in the same event in 2017. At the Rio Paralympics in 2016 he was fourth and he is the two-time Parapan Am Games champion including this past August in Lima.
‘’The victory in Lima gave me a big confidence boost,’’ he said. ‘’I was wondering whether I was going to be at same level as before the injury. To do that again helps me to be confident in what I have done.
‘’Obviously we’re always aiming for gold. I think with the progress I’ve had this year I expect to be at my best here so that’s encouraging.’’
The heat in Dubai can be a factor, but Ouellet has a strong track record in warm weather conditions including that world title in Doha.
‘’With the heat anything can happen,’’ he said. ‘’We try to prepare our body for these conditions as best we can but there’s a lot of unforeseen circumstances. I hope my body will react well.’’
Ouellet, afflicted with retinitis pigmentosa resulting in a field of vision of about 10 degrees, admits he’s just as excited this week as if it is his first worlds.
‘’I’m anxious for it to start. There’s nothing I love more than competing against the best.’’
The World Para Athletics Championships are the largest Para sport event to be held before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and run from November 7 to 15 in Dubai. More than 1,400 athletes from almost 120 nations are competing.
Viewers will be able to follow the action via the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca, the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices, and CPC Facebook page, as well as the Radio-Canada Sports app and radio-canada.ca/sports.
For the broadcast schedule, please visit Paralympic.ca/Paralympic-Super-Series.