Oakville’s Smeenk rides to silver medal at Para athletics worlds

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Published July 14, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Oakville wheelchair racer Austin Smeenk is on to the men’s T34 800-metre final at the Para athletics world championships after beating his previous record time set at the Americas back in May. CANADIAN PARALYMPIC PHOTO

Oakville’s Austin Smeenk has a silver medal to go with his bronze one at the Para athletics world championships in Paris, France.

The 26-year-old won silver in the men’s T34 100-metre wheelchair race on Thursday (July 13).

The win comes on the heels of a bronze medal victory in the T34 400-metre men’s wheelchair race at the world championships.

The bronze finish was Smeenk’s first career major championship medal.

The local racer captured his silver in the 100m in a photo finish with a time of 15.10 seconds, edging out reigning world champion Walid Ktila by one-one hundredth at the finish line.

Chaiwat Rattana of Thailand won gold with an Asian-record time of 15.01 seconds.

Smeenk’s silver medal finish was one of three medals Canada won at the worlds on Thursday

Zachary Gingras of Markham also won silver in the men’s T38 400m race, while Marissa Papaconstantinou of Toronto rode a personal best to bronze in the women’s T64 100m race.

Smeenk was born with spastic paraplegia, a hereditary disease that causes progressive stiffness and contraction in the lower limbs.

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