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Junior Phenom: Charles Paquet

Canada’s top finisher at last year’s ITU World Junior Championship in Chicago, Port-Cartier, Quebec’s Charles Paquet, has his sights set on a top finish at this year’s world championship.

Quebec's Charles Paquet checks out the action at the ITU Grand Final in Chicago. He was Canada's top finisher in the junior race.
Quebec’s Charles Paquet checks out the action at the ITU Grand Final in Chicago. He was Canada’s top finisher in the junior race. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Set on the north shore of the Saint Laurence River about 60 km southwest of Sept-Iles, Port-Cartier isn’t exactly a triathlon “hub.” When Charles Paquet decided to give up playing soccer and pursue triathlon, there wasn’t a lot of training partners and support around to help him on his journey. In March, 2014, Paquet joined a training camp in Florida and competed at the North American junior championships in Sarasota, finishing ninth and earning himself a spot at the Pan American Championship in Monterrey, Mexico, a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games.

Paquet finished second in that race, which got him the lone Canadian spot at the Youth Olympic Games in China, where he would eventually finish ninth.

Fast forward a little over a year and Paquet is once again representing Canada, this time at the World Junior Championship in Chicago. He’d nailed his spot for the worlds in Monterrey with another silver medal, despite a knee injury that slowed him down on the run. After a year of solid swims Paquet was disappointed that inclement weather forced race organizers to cancel the swim in Chicago at the worlds, but Paquet was happy with his ninth-place finish.

The 18-year-old (he turns 19 in July) heads into his last year as a junior with visions of a podium finish at this year’s world championship.

“Top five [at the worlds] would be great, but the podium is my objective,” Paquet says. In preparation for that goal he’ll head off to Florida at the end of the month for another training camp and two races, Clermont and Sarasota, where he’ll race as an elite.

He is also enjoying a lot more company when he’s training these days. He’s attending Cegep Garneau in Quebec City and training with the Laval University triathlon club under coach Charles Perreault. It all bodes well for another great year of racing, one that we’ll be following here at Triathlon Magazine Canada.