With files from Canadian Press and Ottawa Citizen
It wasn’t how Jason Dunkerley would have imagined winning gold, but hours after finishing his 5,000m T11 event with guide Joshua Karanja the pair crowned champions following the disqualification of Brazilian Odair Ferreira Dos Santos. The disqualification also made Dunkerley’s finishing time of 15 minutes 39.54 seconds a new Games Record.
“I’d obviously be very proud to win gold but I think it’s not the way we would have wanted to (win it),” Dunkerley said late Monday night. “We earned silver. If we come away with gold, we’ll take it, but it’s not the way we would have wanted to win it.”
Monday’s result sets Dunkerley and Karanja up well for next year’s Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. “We faced the top two contenders in this race for next year, so this was a good way for us to know how to beat them in the future.”
Dunkerley, who has only competed in the 5,000 for a few years after specializing for most of his career in the 800 and 1,500, said that although he has trained primarily for the 5,000 this season, he still likes his chances in the 1,500, in which he’ll run on Friday.
Right before Dunkerley’s performance, wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy opened up the athletics competition with a silver medal in a very tightly contested T54 5000m. Despite blowing rain, Josh appeared to have control of the race as the final lap approched. However, American Daniel Romanchuk out sprinited Cassidy to the line, winning in 11:44.92, just 0.04 seconds in front of Josh.
“I’m pleased to get a medal,” said Cassidy. “I’m proud of the young U.S. guy, he’s going to be very good one day.”
Cassidy returns to action Wednesday afternoon as he contests the 800m semi-final at 4:42 pm.