Turbide mounts impressive comeback to capture 100 back silver
TOKYO – For the second straight Paralympic Games, Quebec City’s Nicolas-Guy Turbide is a men’s 100-m backstroke S13 medallist.
The 24-year-old, who claimed bronze in the event five years ago in Rio, mounted an impressive comeback in the second half of Thursday’s final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre to capture silver in a time of 59.70 seconds.
The second-place finish marks Canada’s second swimming medal in the Japanese capital, following Aurélie Rivard’s bronze in the women’s 50-m freestyle S10 on Day 1.
Turbide, who had posted the third fastest time in the morning heats (1:01.08), was fourth at the 50-metre turn in the final in 28.96, 28 hundredths of a second off a podium spot and 45 hundredths behind second place.
His second-half push allowed him to overcome both Thomas van Wanrooij of the Netherlands and Vladimir Sotnikov of the Russian Paralympic Committee down the stretch.
Despite his impressive performance, there’s nothing the Canadian could do on the night against Belarusian superstar Ihar Boki, who shattered his own world record in 56.36 to win his 13th career gold medal across three Paralympic Games appearances.
Sotnikov ended up third in 59.86.
“I feel pretty emotional tonight actually, it’s not my usual self, but I had a year and a half filled with injuries that actually made me doubt that I would come here today at these Games,” said Turbide, who had also placed second behind Boki at London 2019 to claim his first career world championship medal. “Going back home with a medal is the best result that I could have hoped for, and it shows that being resilient during the year and believing in myself made the difference tonight.
“I’ve been stuck with many lower back issues, a disc bulge and muscle spasms. Every time I was pushing off the wall or doing a flip turn it would make it completely unbearable to the point where I had to stop for a couple of weeks in February,” explained the Club de Natation Région de Québec swimmer. “Getting back to this level where I was in London in 2019 and finishing in the same position is just a full circle that closed itself.”
Three other Canadians were in action on Day 2 and all of them joined Turbide in the evening finals.
The defending champion in the women’s 100-m breaststroke SB8, Katarina Roxon of Kippens, N.L., came close to returning to the podium in her favourite event but had to settle for fourth place with a time of 1:25.73.
The 28-year-old from Aqua Aces Swim Club, who is competing in her fourth Paralympic Games, trailed Adelina Razetdinova of the RPC by half a second at the turn and couldn’t quite catch up to her rival in the final 50.
Ellen Keane of Ireland took gold in 1:19.93 ahead of New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe (1:20.32) and Razetdinova (1:24.77).
“It is what it is. Obviously, it’s not what I wanted, not what I expected. It was really hard,” said Roxon, the silver medallist in the event at London 2019. “I still have a relay and two individual events to look forward to.”
In the men’s 100-m breaststroke SB9, James Leroux of Repentigny, Que., finished sixth in 1:11.49, improving one position from his seventh-place finish in Rio.
The 23-year-old, who claimed silver in the event at the 2019 Worlds, was fourth at the turn in 31.82, seven hundredths of a second off third place, but faded down the stretch to slide down two spots.
Italy’s Stefano Raimondi led from start to finish on his way to a winning time of 1:05.35. RPC teammates Artem Isaev (1:07.45) and Dmitrii Bartasinskii (1:08.06) rounded out the podium.
“It could have been better. I’m not really happy with the ranking or the time,” said Leroux, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Quebec in Montreal. “I’m just trying to move on now, go on a break and come back for Worlds next year.”
In the men’s 400-m freestyle S11, Matthew Cabraja of Brampton, Ont., clocked 4:57.63 to place seventh in his Paralympic Games debut.
The 19-year-old had posted the sixth fastest time in the morning heats, 4:56.42, four hundredths of a second off his personal best.
Reigning world champion Rogier Dorsman of the Netherlands won gold in 4:28.47. He was followed at the wall by Japan’s Tomita Uchu (4:31.69) and China’s Dongdong Hua (4:34.89).
“It went really well. I’m really happy with how consistent my race was compared to the morning. I’m happy to be under five (minutes) again. Really proud of my race,” said Cabraja, from the Cobra Swim Club in Brampton. “I’m definitely looking forward to the 50 free tomorrow. It’s going to be fun going from 400 to 50.”
Wayne Lomas, Swimming Canada’s Associate High Performance Director and National Para Swimming Coach, was impressed with the team’s Day 2 performance.
“Four finals on the second night. Nicolas-Guy’s silver medal was a just reward for the dedication, hard work and perfect execution of the race plan that he and Coach Marc-André Pelletier have worked on.
“Having our team in the stands cheering Katarina, James and Matthew in Paralympic Games finals was also a something special,” added Lomas. “Each of them gave their races everything, following the advice of our chef de mission, Stephanie Dixon who, in our team ring ceremony asked each Paralympian to ask themselves when they touched the wall ‘Did I give it everything?’ And they did. My heartfelt congratulations to not only Katarina, Matthew and James but also to their coaches Leonard Roxon, Ian Roopnarine and Mike Thompson, who have done so well in preparing their swimmers for these Games.”
Full schedule and results:
Photos courtoisie du Comité paralympique canadien (à des fins éditoriales uniquement) : https://cdnparalympics.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/Tokyo-2020/C0000_JK7r6z31OA
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