If performances in 2018 are any indication, Canada is on track for another successful Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020. There were six world titles earned in summer sports in a year that didn’t have world championships for Para swimming and Para athletics. In all, Tokyo targeted athletes won 61 medals this past summer in various international events, 30 of which were gold.
Here are 10 of the top highlights from an exciting summer:
Brent Lakatos wins Berlin Marathon
Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., made a commitment to marathon racing in 2018 and it paid off with his first career victory in the event at the Berlin Marathon. He upset Marcel Hug of Switzerland, the defending event champion and Paralympic Games champion.
Nathan Riech emerges on Canadian Para running scene
One of the breakthrough stories of the year was in Para athletics as Nathan Riech of Victoria broke world records in the T38 800m and 1500m on Canada Day weekend at the Berlin Grand Prix. His mother is former Canadian pole vault champion Arden Tucker and his father Todd competed at the 1996 Olympics in the javelin. His grandfather is former NHLer Jim Harrison.
Kyle Fredrickson and Andrew Todd pair for gold
Kyle Fredrickson and Andrew Todd became the first-ever world champions in the new PR3 boat class last month in Bulgaria. While it is not yet a Paralympic Games class, the result definitely augurs well for Canada’s fours team in Tokyo.
Stefan Daniel repeats as world champion in Para triathlon
He’s only 21 years old but Calgary’s Stefan Daniel is already a three-time world champion in Para triathlon. This amazing athlete collected a third global crown last month in Gold Coast, Australia, successfully defending his title.
Aurélie Rivard sets world record at Pan Pacific Para swimming championships
It didn’t take long for Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., to find her stride at the Pan Pacific Para swimming championships this past August in Australia. On day one she broke her own world record in the S10 400m freestyle en route to a triple gold performance.
Canada collects 40 medals at Pan Pacific Para swimming championships
Over five days of competition, the Canadian delegation tallied an impressive 14 gold, 10 silver, and 16 bronze while setting 24 personal-best times including one world, three Americas and 10 national records.
Alison Levine reaches new heights at world boccia championships
Her 7-1 loss in the semifinals isn’t indicative that the entire match may have been decided on one shot, but Alison Levine can still put a smile on her 2018 season with a career-best fourth in the BC4 category at the world boccia championships held in Liverpool, England. She entered the tournament ranked seventh in the world.
Four gold medals for Canada at Para cycling road world championships
Para cycling was Canada’s best sport at the 2016 Paralympics and it could be again at Tokyo 2020. At the road world championships this past August in Italy, Canada won four gold medals. Shelley Gautier of Toronto was a double champion while Tristen Chernove of Cranbrook, B.C. and Michael Sametz of Calgary added one win apiece.
Ross Wilson and Alex Hyndman also reach podium at road world championships NextGen athlete Alex Hyndman sparked the fire for a brilliant performance for Canada at the Para cycling world road championships with a bronze medal in the Handcycle 3 time trial. It was the first of seven Canadian medals which also included a silver for Ross Wilson of Edmonton.
Canada edged for early bird spot in goalball for Paralympic Games
Canada’s national women’s goalball team fell just short in its bid for an early ticket to the 2020 Paralympic Games finishing fourth overall at the world championships in Sweden this past June. The top three in both men’s and women’s play qualified for Tokyo. The Canadian men and women will get another opportunity to qualify at the 2019 Parapan American Games.