Calgary’s Stefan Daniel took silver at the Paratriathlon World Championships on Saturday in Edmonton capping off an already fantastic season. Racing in just his second World Championships, the Alberta teenager thrilled the hometown that lined the streets of Hawrelak Park while posting a time of 1:02:29 in the men’s arm impairment class (PT4).
“The course is really spectacular, really fun and challenging. I’m very happy with today’s race” beamed the 17-year-old Daniel. “I’m very happy with my swim today; I was a lot closer than last year. I’ve been doing a lot of bike training, which paid off – it’s a really challenging bike course.”
Daniel, who stormed into the paratriathlon world one year ago with a bronze-medal performance in London, has won each of his three races including the National Championships this year.
“This season is the first where I’ve truly focused on paratriathlon, and I’m very happy with my progress,” said Daniel, who won four medals at the Canada Summer Games last year in swimming. “It’s been a fun year. I’ve done lots of junior elite races, which have helped with my progression and development in the paratriathlon.”
Daniel, who will take a few days off before returning to the National Sport School in Calgary will also focus on competing in cross-country running this fall. The multi-sport athletes shared the podium with Germany’s Martin Schulz who finished on top with a time of 1:01:03 and American, Chris Hammer, in third at 1:03:45.
Canada’s Chantal Denholm had a strong swim to help her finish fourth in the women’s PT4 category for the second straight season. The Winnipeg native clocked a time of 1:16:37 to finish just shy of the podium.
“I knew exactly what I was getting into; I grew up here and spent 25 years of my life in this city, running up the hill we were biking. It’s a tough course, but a good tough,” said Denholm, who was racing on a new bike. “I was excited and a little nervous to race here.It’s always exciting to compete in Canada for Canada, but to do it in Edmonton took on a whole new meaning.”
Lauren Steadman, of Great Britain, clocked a golden time in the division with a time of 1:11:55.
Meanwhile, Ryan Van Praet, of Chatham, Ont., teamed up with his guide Austin Horn, of Victoria, BC, to finish ninth at 1:08:47 in the men’s visually impaired category (PT5).
“When you have three events like in triathlon, of course you want to knock it out in all three, so today is disappointing,” said Van Praet. The swim was chaotic, and left us chasing on the bike. That hill makes it a really challenging course, especially when you’re in chase mode. I had probably the best run of the season, so I have to be happy about that.
“Edmonton does such a fantastic job; the volunteers were falling over themselves to try to help us. It’s definitely the best experience of the year. The organizers are the friendliest.”
Christine Robbins was the only other Canadian to race and finishes sixth in the PT5 category with a time of 1:21:43.
Triathlon Canada has become increasingly more active in growing its paratriathlon program since the sport was introduced four years ago to debut at the 2016 Paralympic Games. In an attempt to maintain pace with the international growth, and increased competition at the elite level, Triathlon Canada has staged centralized training camps in advance of the World Championships over the last three years, and has increased racing opportunities at all levels both domestically and abroad. The focus is to contribute to Canada’s Paralympic medal count in 2016 and beyond.
“The sport is growing at a rapid pace around the world, and the performance bar is constantly being raised. Naming our first World Championship team of athletes this year is another critical step forward in developing medal-winners for Canada in Rio,” said Shaunna Taylor, high-performance director of paratriathlon. “Building a deep talent pool of athletes is critical to success in any sport so we look forward to introducing, and guiding, more athletes to our sport in an effort to build our domestic programs, with the ultimate goal of producing more Paralympic champions.”
from Triathlon Canada