Weekend recap: Austin Smeenk continues to roll with world marks in 400m and 800m in Paris warm-up

Canadian Paralympic Committee

June 17, 2024

Canada fifth at Super Six women’s sitting volleyball tournament

PARIS – Just over two months from the start of the Paralympic Games, wheelchair racer Austin Smeenk is smoking hot.

The 27-year-old two-time Paralympian from Oakville, Ont. had a second straight banner weekend in international wheelchair racing at a stop on the Grand Prix circuit. He lowered the world record in the T35 800m and the 400m. It was the third time this month he beat the 400m mark.

In the 800, Smeenk clocked 1:35.59 to eclipse the previous mark of 1:35.84 set by Chaiwat Rattana of Thailand who was not at this weekend’s meet. Rattana also lost his 400 world mark to Smeenk last weekend and the Canadian brought it down to 48.06 on Saturday.

Canada posted several top-three finishes at the event.

University of Ottawa medical student Julia Hanes, who has paralysis on one side of her body, set an Americas record in the women’s F33-34 javelin and added silver in the shotput.

Charlotte Bolton of Tillsonburg, Ont. was tops in both the T41 discus and shotput. Nandini Sharma of Toronto clocked first in the T54 100.

On the men’s side besides Smeenk, winners were Anthony Bouchard of Quebec City in the T52 100 wheelchair race and Brendan Cote-Williamson of Saskatoon in the T45-46-47 100.

Smeenk was second in the 100 and other runners-up for the men included Jesse Zesseu of Toronto in both the discus and long jump and David Johnson of Saanich, B.C. in the T12-13 400.

For the women, second place results were posted by Bianca Borgella of Ottawa in the T13 100, Marissa Papaconstantinou of Toronto in the T44-63-64 200m, Natalie Thirsk of Edmonton in the T38 400, and three-time world championship medallist Renee Foessel of Barrie, Ont. in the F37-38 discus.

Cote-Williamson added bronze in the T45-46-47 400 as did Laura Calovini of Brampton, Ont. in the women’s F37 shotput.

Canada’s women’s sitting volleyball ends tournament on high note

Canada defeated host France 3-0 (25-6, 25-7, 25-5) to place fifth at the 2024 WPV Women’s Super 6 in Nancy, France on Sunday.

All the countries in the tournament are bound for the 2024 Paralympic Games.

It was the Canadians’ second win against the French in the tournament.

“We are working on many new things leading up to the Paralympics, focusing on the process and implementing new strategies we’ve been developing since the World Cup,” said Canadian player Allison Lang of Edmonton.

The U.S. won the gold defeating China 3-1 in the final. Brazil swept Italy for the bronze.

Groups set for Paralympic Games wheelchair basketball tournaments

The draw to determine the groups for the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball tournaments at the 2024 Paralympic Games was held on Friday in Paris.

In the women’s tournament, Canada, fifth at the last two Games and two world championships, is in Group A with Great Britain, China and Spain.  China is ranked second internationally while Spain and the UK are eighth and ninth.

Group B is comprised of reigning world and Paralympic champions Netherlands as well as USA, Japan and Germany.

On the men’s side, the Canadians, sixth at the 2023 worlds, join Great Britain, Germany and France in Group A. The British took silver at worlds while the Germans are ranked eighth and France ninth.

In Group B it’s world and Paralympic champions USA, Spain, Netherlands and Australia.

With files from World Para Volley

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