LONDON, UK – Virginia McLachlan of Windsor, Ont., today won Canada’s first track and field medal and Canada’s sixth medal overall at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Day one of track and field competition also saw a new Canadian record, a top eight performance and four athletes through to later rounds.
McLachlan won bronze in the women’s T35 classification 200-metres in a personal best time of 34.31 seconds. “I have so many mixed emotions right now, I’m over the moon. I’ve worked so hard for this; I remembered everything my coaches told me. I can’t believe I just won a Paralympic medal.” China’s Pin Liu took gold in 32.72 seconds and Italy’s Oxana Corso silver in 33.68 seconds. Virginia will now shift her attention to the 100-metres slated for Friday September 7th.
Braedon Dolfo of Langley, B.C., placed fourth in his heat of the T13 classification 100-metres in a new Canadian record and personal best time of 11.26 seconds securing a spot in tomorrow’s final at 19:15 local time (14:15 eastern time).
Barrie, Ont’s Rachael Burrows finished eighth overall in the women’s T34 100-metres in 22.59 seconds. “My goal was to go a little bit faster than I did this morning (in the heats), and I ended up pretty close. I’m pretty happy with my race.” She adds, “I had raced in front of a couple of thousand people but nothing ever like this, it was great.” Burrows qualified for the final earlier in the day by placing second in her respective heat with a time of 22.02 seconds.
In the men’s visually impaired T11 classification 1500-metres the duo from Ottawa, Ont., of Jason Dunkerley and Josh Karanja qualified for Monday’s final with a time of 4:13.67. “I raced in 4:13:67, not a particularly fast time. It was the first race so we’ll take it for today and do better on Monday. I love the crowd here.” Results initially showed the pair in third but a disqualification to Morocco’s Mohamed Ed Dahmani and Mustapha Sanjach bumped the Canadian duo to second.
Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Que., finished second in a time of 12:24.48 in her heat of the T54 wheelchair 5000-metres to automatically qualify for the final. “It went well, the heat allowed me to test the track. The ambiance in the stadium is fantastic. I didn’t expect to see such a crowd during the heats.” She adds, “I’m confident for the final.”
In the same event Keira-Lyn Frie of Saskatoon, Sask., finished sixth in her heat in 13:12.45 to advance to the final. “It felt amazing to be out there. I kept my focus and I felt strong. I am where I want to be.”
In the men’s T54 wheelchair 5000-metres Josh Cassidy of Ottawa, Ont., finished fourth in his heat clocking in at 11:32.47. Alexandre Dupont of Bradwell, Sask., finished ninth in his heat in a time of 11:31.10. Neither qualified for the final.
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.