Canada's Stefan Daniel takes gold at World Para-triathlon Series in Japan
Stefan Daniel proved he is in the best overall shape of his life after stomping the field to win the gold medal at the World Para-triathlon Series on an early Saturday morning in Yokohama, Japan.
The Paralympic silver medallist captured his eighth World Para-triathlon Series title, and second at Yamashita Park in Yokohama. Daniel led wire-to-wire through the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run course under ideal conditions where he clocked a time of 58:54.
"The game plan was to have a good bike and test some new things because I have been balancing training with school," Daniel said. "I was really happy with how everything went. Overall, this is the fittest and most balanced I've been this early in the year."
Daniel darted through the current and choppy waters to take a sizeable lead out of Yokohama Harbour onto the bike course towards the City's downtown.
"We were off really early in the morning so the conditions were perfect. The chop in the water broke up the field a bit," added the three-time world champion. "The bike was nice and technical which is unusual for a para course and the run was pretty fun and fast."
The Calgarian lit up the run course while darting to the gold medal. He finished two minutes ahead of Chris Hammer (United States) who was the next best finisher at 1:00:56. Russia's Alexandr Ialchik snagged the final spot on the podium with a time of 1:01:24.
With 15 months to go until the 2020 Paralympic Summer Games, Daniel and his Canadian mates are preparing with all eyes focused on Tokyo.
"We just came off our first big training camp as a team in Hawaii. The goal was to test out the heat because we know it is going to be hot in Tokyo," said Daniel. "I like the way I responded. I'm definitely a lot more confident with the heat. Everything is rolling right now, I'm running and swimming well so I hope to take this momentum into Montreal where I know will be a really good field."
Two of Daniel's teammates finished just off the podium in fourth place. Jessica Tuomela, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. teamed up with guide Marianne Hogan (Montreal) for the first time, and enjoyed a solid day in the women's visually impaired category while clocking a time of 1:13:37. The Canadian duo finished just 11 seconds off the podium.
The division was won by Spain's Susana Rodriguez with a time of 1:09:32.
Kamylle Frenette, of Dieppe, N.B., also battled hard in her first World Para-triathlon Series race of the season, posting a fourth-place time of her own at 1:11:19 in the women's standing event.
Grace Norman, of the United States, won the classification with a time of 1:07:49.
Ottawa's Jon Dunkerley, and his Victoria-based guide James Cook, placed eighth in the men's visually impaired race with a time of 1:06:23.