With the qualification window soon closing for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, Canadian athletes had another busy weekend as they attempted to book their tickets to the upcoming Tokyo Games. There was track and field action in Burnaby, B.C., and Toronto on Friday, and both meets saw Canadian records fall. In Burnaby, Evan Dunfee raced to his second record in as many weeks, breaking the national 5,000m race walking mark with an 18:39.08 showing. In Toronto, Marissa Papaconstantinou and Amanda Rummery broke a couple of Canadian para athletics records. Papaconstantinou ran 27.49 seconds to lower the national T64 200m best, and in the 400m, Rummery’s 1:00.26 result beat the Canadian T46 record.
Papaconstantinou and Rummery
Toronto’s Papaconstantinou, 21, competed at the Rio Paralympics, where she raced the 100m and 200m. She didn’t make it out of the heats in Rio, but a year later at the 2017 world championships, she finished with impressive results of sixth in the 100m and seventh in the 200m. Born without her right foot, Papaconstantinou competes in the T64 para athletics classification, which is a competition category including athletes with below-knee limb deficiency.
Papaconstantinou already owned the Canadian T64 national record in the 200m with a time of 27.54 seconds, which she ran in Arizona in 2018. She was unable to ride that momentum from 2018 for too long, as an injury kept her sidelined for much of 2019.
In 2020, racing opportunities were rare, but she looks to be back in peak form now, and just in time for the Tokyo Paralympics, which start on August 24. In addition to her new 200m Canadian record of 27.49, Papaconstantinou owns the national T64 100m record of 13.15 seconds, a time she ran in 2019 just before her injury.
While Papaconstantinou has been competing on Team Canada for several years (despite only being in her early 20s), Rummery is quite new to the world of national para athletics. After making her international debut in 2018, she competed at the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru. Missing her left arm, Rummery is classified as a T46 athlete, and she competes in sprinting events.
Like Papaconstantinou, Rummery broke her own Canadian record on Friday, running 1:00.26 to beat her previous best of 1:01.09, which she ran at a meet in San Diego earlier this year. Rummery now owns the Canadian T46 records in the 100m (13.67), 200m (28.11) and 400m.
Another record for Dunfee
At the Harry Jerome Classic in Burnaby on June 12, Dunfee posted a Canadian 10,000m race walk record of 38:39.72. This lowered his own record of 38:54.20, which he set back in 2019. Less than a week later, he was back on the same track in Burnaby, this time racing a 5,000m. He stormed to an incredible 18:39.08 finish, beating Iñaki Gomez‘s 2012 record of 18:45.64.
Dunfee’s result is faster than many people could run 5,000m (a fact that also applies to his 10,000m record). He averaged 3:44 per kilometre throughout the 5K race, hammering out lap after lap until he crossed the line with his third Canadian record (in addition to the 10,000m best, he owns the national 50K race walk record of 3:41:38).
After finishing fourth in the 50K race walk in 2016 in Rio and winning bronze at the 2019 world championships, Dunfee was already a favourite heading into the Tokyo Games, but with his past two performances, he has shown the world that he’s in incredible shape, and will certainly be in contention for a top spot at the Olympics this summer.