Cassidy golden on opening day of Canadian Championships

It may be a year away, but Tokyo and the 2020 Paralympic Games is front of mind for veteran wheelchair racer Joshua Cassidy. The 34 year old took another step towards Tokyo with a victory in last night’s Para Wheelchair 5000m at the Canadian Championships, winning in 11:19.28.

“I’ve been in great shape the last year or two, like the best I’ve ever been, but it’s just getting equipment right and some good luck,” Cassidy said following his race. “Just having the consistency in the performance here and then in the next year is what’s most important for Worlds and Tokyo.”

Thursday night’s victory was just one of three events on the schedule for Cassidy this weekend in Montreal. He will also contest the 800m and 1500m this weekend where it is expected he and 5000m medalists Tristan Smith and Alexandre Dupont will battle again. The trio should put on quite the show as all figure into Canada’s all-time top four in each of the events.

Looking forward to Friday’s 1500m final, Cassidy’s goal is simple: “I’m just trying to win.” However, he highlighted the point that that may escape the casual viewer. “Every track is so different for us rolling a lot more; the density of it really plays a part. Tristan and I are both pretty big guys so it affects us, playing with our tactics and strategies a bit more.”

Shanna Boutilier picked up a silver in the Para Ambulatory 400m Thursday evening with a time of 1:06.38. Like Cassidy, it was the first of three events she’ll be contesting this weekend with the 100 and 200 metre events to follow.