Paralympic Games begin Friday for Canadian track and field team

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London, UK – Competition at the 2012 Paralympic Games begins Friday August 31 for the Canadian track and field team comprised of 26 athletes. The team is led by five medallists from the 2008 Paralympic Games. Things officially get underway on Wednesday August 29 with the opening ceremonies live on TSN2 and RDS at 3:30pm eastern time.

“The mindset of the team and support staff is exactly as it should coming out of our preparation camp – focused but relaxed; confident, not arrogant,” said Head Coach Laurier Primeau. “Distractions are being ignored in favor of concentration on relevant training regimens and recovery modalities. As we move into the village I know we will continue with our singular focus and high performance expectations for the Games.”

Leading the way on day one of competition is world record holder Diane Roy of Sherbrook, Que., in the wheelchair T54 classification 5000-metres. Roy won silver in this event at the 2008 Games and holds the World Record which stands at 11:16.96. Also racing in this event is Keira-Lyn Frie of Saskatoon, SK. Round 1 of the 5000-metres goes at 10:15am local time (5:15am eastern time).

Josh Cassidy of Ottawa, Ont., and Alexandre Dupont of Bradwell Sask., compete in the men’s wheelchair T54 classification 5000-metres with eyes on moving into Sunday’s final (September 2). Round 1 of the men’s 5000-metres is slated for 7:15pm local time (2:15pm eastern time).

Jason Dunkerley of Ottawa, Ont., enters his fourth Paralympic Games with a bronze medal from the 2008 Games to his credit. He and guide runner Josh Karanja, also of Ottawa, Ont., race in the men’s visually impaired T11 classification 1500-metres at 11:13am local time (6:13am eastern time).

Rachael Burrows of Barrie, Ont., is in the women’s cerebral palsy wheelchair T34 100-metres on Friday morning. She’s looking to qualify for the final slated for the evening session the very same day. Rachael races at 12:30pm local time (6:30am eastern), the final is at 8:00pm local (3:00pm eastern).

Virginia McLachlan of Windsor, Ont., lines up in the women’s ambulant cerebral palsy T35 200-metres final at 8:15pm local time (3:15pm eastern). Virginia enters the event with a personal best of 34.57 seconds.

Canadian record holder Braedon Dolfo of Langley, B.C., will race in the first round of the men’s visually impaired T13 100-metres at 9:35pm local time (4:35pm eastern time). Dolfo enters the competition ranked sixth in the world.

Other returning medallists on the team are Earle Connor of Calgary, Alta., Kyle Pettey of Brampton, Ont., and Michelle Stilwell of Nanoose Bay, B.C. Connor won gold in the amputee T42 classification 100-metres at both the 2008 and 2000 Games. Pettey won bronze at the 2008 Games in the cerebral palsy F34 classification shot put. Stilwell won a pair of gold medals at the 2008 Games in the wheelchair T52 classification 100 and 200-metres.

For the latest news, schedule and results visit www.paralympic2012.athletics.ca. The web home of the 2012 Canadian Paralympic track and field features a powerful social media hub providing easy access to all tweets from team members.

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