After winning the silver medal at the 2016 Paralympics and four World Triathlon Championship Finals in the PTS5 category, Stefan Daniel rolled into the Paralympics in Tokyo as one of the pre-race favourites. Still getting over an injury at that race, Daniel put together a gutsy performance to earn the bronze medal in Tokyo, a couple of spots behind the defending champion Martin Schulz. The German beat Daniel again earlier this year before the Canadian began a run of wins leading up to the Grand Finals in Abu Dhabi today that included wins in A Corona, Montreal and Swansea – but Schulz wasn’t at any of those races.
The German was in Abu Dhabi, though, which made today’s win for Daniel all the sweeter. The German was just nine seconds ahead of Daniel out of the water at the end of the 750 m swim. The lead was down to six seconds at the end of the 20-km bike, and it wasn’t long before Daniel was using his impressive run talent to surge to the lead. (Daniel helped his university cross country team with the national championship a few years ago.) By the end of the 5-km run Daniel had opened up a 50-second lead on this German rival, nailing his fifth world title in style (58:24). American Chris Hammer would round out the podium in 1:00:50.
“Pretty emotional crossing the line today,” Daniel posted on social media after his big win. “It’s been a year building back my love for the sport. To cap it off this way was unbelievable and something I did not expect.”
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Frenette takes podium finish
Canadian Kamylle Frenette finished fourth in Tokyo last year – a great result, but, of course, one spot short of a medal. She also finished fourth at the 2018 and 2019 World Triathlon Grand Final races in the PTS5 category. All of which made today’s bronze medal performance that much more rewarding.
Frenette was just seven seconds behind Great Britain’s Clair Cashmore out to the water, with American Grace Norman in between the two as they headed to T1. By the end of the bike Norman had ridden into the lead, 25 seconds ahead of Cashmore and 47 seconds up on Frenette. The gaps continued to open through the run, with Norman taking the win in 1:05:59, Cashmore earning the silver medal in 1:07:21 and Frenette taking the bronze in 1:08:52.
Competing in the PTWC category, Canada’s Leanne Taylor (pictured above) finished fourth in a time of 1:13:32. Australia’s Lauren Parker, coming off a record-setting performance at the Ironman World Championship, won the race in 1:08:43, with American Kendall Gretsch earning the silver in 1:09:09 and Brazil’s Jessica Ferreira rounding out the podium in 1:13:32.