“I had to ride the race of my life, and that’s what I did”

Days before flying to Santiago, Anthony Bouchard confided to Radio-Canada Sports that he doesn’t have high expectations for the Parapan American Games, which will be his first multi-sport competition. He went there for experience – and came away with two medals, including one gold.

The athlete in a wheelchair first won bronze in the 400 meters on Tuesday, eight hundredths of second place. And he kept the best for his performance on Thursdayat 100 m, while in the T52 category he covered the distance in an unsurpassed time of 17 with 67/100.

I knew (winning) was a possibility. But I wouldn’t be disappointed even if I left without a medal, say, explains the 31-year-old athlete. I looked at the standings of the competitors, and that made me a little cold, I was a few seconds behind the best. I told myself I had to have the best race of my life to succeed.

In October, he warned from his home in Quebec that the planets would have to align for a podium to appear on the horizon, at the end of the 100m or 400m races, the two races in which he will compete. . To get on the podium, I would really have to have the performance of my life or the others would have to have a bad day. he remarked.

This is probably the first scenario that has happened. The conditions were good, the course was beautiful, my rivals ran well, but I really had the best race of my career, he analyzes.

Saguenéen beat Mexican Salvador Hernandez by three hundredths at the finish line and confirmed the gold.

I wasn’t sure I was going to win, I knew I was in the mix, but above all, I wasn’t convinced. Then I heard my name and I said to myself, that sounds like a gold medal!

Category T52: for athletes with significant limitations in the trunk and legs, and mild to moderate limitations in the arms and shoulders. Dean Bergeron played in this category at the 2008 Beijing Games.

In the fast lane

Anyone who started para-athletics just three years ago knows meteoric rise. His time recorded in Chile puts him in contention for a medal at the Paralympics.

In just a few months, he managed to reduce by more than a second the result achieved at the World Para-Athletics Championships in Paris (18.89 s) last summer. His time of 17.67s would have placed him 2nd at the last World Championships and 4th at the last Paralympics.

Canada’s Anthony Bouchard battled closely his opponents to take the honors in Santiago.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Courtesy of Sportcom

Without wanting to get too carried away, this all bodes well for the continuation of his career. It gives me confidence. I made some adjustments to the world that paid off. I changed my position, lowered my knees an inch and a half. It gave me a lot of stability, the chair now works the way I want it to.

Pride of Quebec

Anthony Bouchard’s performances also highlighted the work of Parasports Québec. In 2021, ten years after the car accident that changed his life, Anthony Bouchard was able to learn para-athletics by borrowing a racing wheelchair from the organization.

Something to look forward to the new president of Parasports QuébecBenoit Huot. This makes us extremely proud, especially since this is an athlete who had questions, who searched a little for himself, and found the answers in sports. And who went through our organization to find answers.

It’s a candy. Our mission is to introduce people to parasport, and Anthony Bouchard is a perfect example of what he can do for an individual. In such a short time he is already among the best in the world in his class!

Bouchard also took time to look at the progress made, once in Chile. It’s funny because my iPhone offered me a memory from a few years ago, when I drove my first race in Sherbrooke, in an ill-fitting chair, where I had trouble maintaining my figure.

Can we say that Parasports Québec gave the first boost to his career? Absolutely, then my first pair of gloves specifies Anthony Bouchard.

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