While her peers were trying to qualify for the Ottawa high school championships last week, Larissa Brown was looking to take another step towards this summer’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Competing at the IPC Desert Challenge in Tempe, Arizona over the weekend, Brown demonstrated she is moving in the right direction. The grade 11 student from St. Mark’s Catholic High School in Manotick ran and jumped her way into the Canadian record book, setting new mark’s in the T12 100m, 200m and long jump. The T12 classification indicates a profound visual impairment for the athlete including a narrow field of view.
Competing as the sole individual in her event classification, not uncommon in para competitions, Brown posted three world class performances. Friday began with the 200m, where she posted a time of 27.94 seconds to put her fourth in the IPC World Rankings. She followed that performance up less than an hour later with a 4.95m leap in the long jump, which currently places her fifth globally. Saturday, she concluded the competition with a 13.63 second run in the 100m, the seventh fastest time in the world this year.
Also in Tempe, Curtis Thom returned to the track for first time since 2014 after taking the 2015 season off. The Canadian record holder in the T54 400m, Thom completed the one lap race on Saturday in 49.85 seconds to qualify third to the final. However, with the quick turnaround later in the evening, Thom slid back to fifth in the final with 51.89 seconds. The 2012 Paralympian was also fourth in the 800m final and fifth in the 100m.
Fellow 2012 Paralympian Rachael Burrows was third in each of the T34 100m, 400m and 800m races.