Tokyo 2020 Day 11 Preview: Para athletics takes centre stage

Canadian Paralympic Committee

September 03, 2021

World record holders Nate Riech and Renee Foessel lead track and field contingent


TOKYO – Saturday is the penultimate day of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and Canada is readying to compete in four sports: Para athletics, Para canoe, sitting volleyball, and Shooting Para sport. Below is what to watch for on Day 11, Saturday September 4: 

Para Athletics 
Nate Riech (Victoria, BC) and Liam Stanley (Victoria, BC) will both race in a highly-anticipated men’s T38 1500m final at 7:15 p.m. JST / 6:15 a.m. ET. Riech is the reigning world champion in this event and will be making his Paralympic debut. Also the world record holder, he lowered his best mark more than once this year leading into the Games, most recently in May at a meet in Portland, Oregon to a time of 3:47.89. 

Stanley was a silver medallist in the T37 1500m five years ago at the Rio Games and fifth in the T38 1500m at the 2019 world championships. At the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games, Riech and Stanley finished 1-2 in this race.  

Discus thrower Renee Foessel (Orangeville, ON) also set a new world record this spring, tossing 37.83 metres at a competition in Guelph, Ont. in June. She and teammate Jenn Brown (Calgary, AB) are set for the women’s F38 discus at 7:35 p.m. JST / 6:35 a.m. ET. 

Foessel will be looking to make it to the Paralympic podium after winning bronze at the 2019 world championships and just missing a medal in fourth place at Rio 2016. Brown was seventh in Rio and fourth at the last worlds. Both athletes are at their second Paralympic Games. 

Austin Smeenk (Oakville, ON) will be the first Canadian athlete in action at Tokyo’s national stadium, racing in the men’s T34 800m final at 9:55 a.m. JST / 8:55 p.m. ET (Friday night). It is his second final in Tokyo, after finishing seventh in the 100m distance. 

In his debut Games, Thomas Normandeau (Peace River, AB) will compete in his first-ever Paralympic final, having qualified for the men’s T47 400m final set for 9:01 p.m. JST / 8:01 a.m. ET. 

Sitting Volleyball
Canada will be playing for a bronze medal in women’s sitting volleyball, taking on Brazil. A victory would give Canada its first Paralympic medal in the sport, but regardless of the result, the nation has already posted its best ever finish at a Games. The squad was seventh at Rio 2016, the first year Canada qualified for the Paralympic Games, in either women’s or men’s sitting volleyball. 

In the group stage, Canada opened its tournament by losing a nail biting five-set match to Brazil, the current Paralympic bronze medallists. The Canadians will now look to reverse that result and prevent a second consecutive podium for the Brazilians. 

The match starts at 4:30 p.m. JST / 3:30 a.m. ET. 

Para Canoe
The last day of Para canoe racing will see all three Canadian athletes in the semifinals and hoping to advance into their respective finals, with Brianna Hennessy (Ottawa, ON) and Andrea Nelson (Markham, ON) in the kayak and Mathieu St-Pierre (Shawinigan, QC) in the va’a boat. 

Hennessy, competing in the KL1 classification, will be in her semifinal at 9:30 a.m. JST / 8:30 p.m. ET (Friday night). She made her first Paralympic final in Tokyo on Friday morning, and finished fifth in the VL2 200m event. 

Nelson will then line up for the women’s KL2 200m semifinals at 9:51 a.m. JST / 8:51 p.m. ET (Friday night) followed by St-Pierre in the men’s VL2 200m semifinals at 9:58 a.m. JST / 8:58 p.m. ET (Friday night). 

Shooting Para Sport 
Canada’s two Shooting Para sport entries, Doug Blessin (Port Coquitlam, BC) and Lyne Tremblay (Magog, QC), are set for their final event of the Games at the Asaka Shooting Range. The mixed 50m rifle prone SH2 qualification round will commence at 12:30 p.m. JST / 11:30 p.m. ET (Friday night) with the Top 8 finishers moving into the final. 

CLICK HERE for the complete Canadian Paralympic Team schedule on September 4. 

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