Canadian para athletes Brent Lakatos and Nate Riech may compete in very different races (Lakatos is a T53 wheelchair athlete while Riech runs in the T38 para classification), but they have at least one thing in common: both men dominate their respective competitions. The pair put this domination on display this past weekend, Lakatos at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Switzerland and Riech at a meet in California, and both powered to big wins, further proving that they will be two of Canada’s best medal hopes at the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics.
Quadruple gold for Lakatos
Lakatos is one of Canada’s most decorated athletes. He has won seven Paralympic medals (including one gold from the T53 100m in 2016) and 17 World Para Athletics medals (12 of which are gold). These medals have come in races as short as 100m and as long as 800m, but Lakatos didn’t stop there, as he has found success off the track as well, with multiple marathon wins to his name (including the 2020 London Marathon).
Had some great fun racing again in Nottwil, now off to Arbon for the next two competitions. Thanks you Rens for the photo! pic.twitter.com/yyCzCb5XdJ
— Brent Lakatos (@BrentLak) May 17, 2021
Racing in Nottwil, Switzerland, on the weekend, Lakatos continued to prove that he can compete with the best in the world, no matter the distance, and he ended up winning four of the five races he entered. He won the men’s T53 800m on May 14, crossing the line in 1:32.27, close to eight full seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. The next day, Lakatos raced the 100m and 1,500m. He won the first, posting a time of 14.66 seconds, and finished in fifth in the 1,500m, stopping the clock in 3:07.79, three seconds behind the winner.
He kicked off the final day of the Grand Prix with a win in the 400m, winning with a time of 48.07, and he closed out his weekend in Switzerland with yet another victory, this time in the 5,000m. That was the closest race of the event for Lakatos, and his winning time of 10:17.24 put him just 0.22 seconds ahead of American Daniel Romanchuk.
With four wins in five races, Lakatos is without a doubt a threat to win in Tokyo this summer, and it won’t be a surprise if he adds a few more Paralympic medals to his resume.
Another world record for Riech
Like Lakatos, Riech looks to be in incredible form as he works toward the Paralympics. Although he has never competed at the Games before, Riech is no stranger to big results, and he has won world championship and Parapan Am Games gold in the 1,500m in the T38 classification (a para athletics division for athletes living with coordination impairment).
Coming into 2021, Riech already owned the T38 1,500m world record, which stood at 3:57.00. At a meet in Victoria in March, he lowered that significantly, running 3:52.56. At the Azusa Pacific Last Chance meet in California over the weekend, he beat his record once again, this time coming extremely close to a sub-3:50 result, ultimately running 3:50.4.
Unfortunately, Riech has had issues with record ratification in the past, as he says Para World Athletics officials are very particular when it comes to determining whether an event is certified or not. Because of this, he says he is unsure whether his latest result will be ratified, but regardless of the record books, he has proven that he is in the best shape of his life. Riech was already a heavy favourite for gold heading into the Tokyo Games, and with his new PB, that now seems to be even more likely than it was before.