CALGARY – It was a little tougher than planned, but wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy finished the sweep of his three events at the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic track and field trials Saturday.
CALGARY -- Josh Cassidy (left) and Jean-Paul Compaore battle on the final lap of their men's wheelchair 1,500 metres Saturday at the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic track and field trials at Calgary. Cassidy won with a strong stretch drive for his third victory of the trials. June 30, 2012
Rob Massey / Metroland
Cassidy, the former Guelph resident who trains two or three times a week in the Royal City, won the men’s wheelchair 1,500 metres on the final day of the four-day trials. He had to use a kick on the final stgretch to edge Jean-Paul Compaore of Sheerbrooke by 2/10ths of a second. Cassidy was timed at three minutes, 20.10 seconds.
“I wasn’t feeling as well in warm-up today as I did the other day,” Cassidy said. “I was feeling a little bit heavy; I’ve been pushing it pretty good. So I went into it feeling I was going to try to really push the pace hard, but they were all right three from the start.”
Cassidy became the centre of attention for some of his opponents in the four-lap race’s field of six.
“Tactically, you’ve got to be ready for anything and two of the guys were working together to try and keep me in the inside,” he said. “The race dynamics changed and I had to make sure I was making good race decisions.”
While they had Cassidy boxed in on the second lap, he worked his way to the outside on the third lap.
“You’ve got to be cautious,” he said. “I probably would’ve panicked more if it would have started later in the race. You’ve just got to be confident. There’s always a way to get out of it, it just means you’ve got to do a lot more work to do, probably, to try to get out.”
Cassidy also used that as motivation rather than letting it eat into his spirit.
“It’s taking two guys to box me out. Bring it on,” he said.
He won with an inspiring performance on the final stretch.
“I typically like to start a sprint earlier because the endurance is where I’d tired guys out,” he said. “The way I was feeling today, though, I more wanted to just make sure I had enough energy to make sure I really had a kick. Coming back from a chair length in 100 metres I’m really proud of.”
Earlier in the trials Cassidy won at distances of 800 metres and 5,000 metres.
“I had a race of all scenarios so it was good to come out on top of all of them.”
-- Torstar News Services