Hosts Canada will be optimistic of landing at least three of the 21 gold medals up for grabs on the first day of athletics action at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games on Monday (10 August).
In the first two races of the day at the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium, both over 5,000m, Canada will be looking for gold from wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy in the men’s T54 race and Jason Dunkerley in the men’s T11 event for visually impaired runners.
After winning four world titles in 2013, Brent Lakatos will start as an overwhelming favourite for Canada in the men’s 100m T53 and may even fancy his chances on improving on his own 15-month-old world record.
Another athlete who will be targeting gold in a record time is Brazil’s Petrucio Ferreria. The 18-year-old has been in scintillating form this year and set a 200m T47 world record in March. Should he beat teammate Yohannson Nascimneto, he could go close to bettering the 23-year-old world record time of 10.72 seconds.
Before Ferreira races, Brazilian athletes may have already tasted podium success with Mateus Evangelista Cardoso and Pedro Silva starting as strong contenders in the men’s F37 and F38 long jump events respectively.
In the absence of her world champion sister Tatyana, the USA’s Hannah McFadden will fancy of her chances of success in the women’s 800m T54 as will teammate Erik Hightower in the men’s 100m T54.
Argentina may also win their first track gold through Hernan Barreto in the men’s 100m T35, whilst many eyes will be on Cuba’s Omara Durand, one of the world’s fastest female para-athletes, who will line-up in the heats of the women’s 100m T12.
In the field, Jamaica’s Alphonso Cunningham, a Paralympic champion in 2004, will be going for gold in the men’s discus F51/52/53/57, as will Brazil’s Marivana Oliveira in the women’s shot put F35/36.
Since bursting onto the scene last year with a flurry of world records, the USA’s Rachael Morrison could also land her first major title when she goes in the women’s club throw F31/32/51.
The track and field competition at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games will feature 377 athletes competing in 145 medal events between 10-14 August.
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