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2011 IPC World Championships- Christchurch, New Zealand

Posted on February 27th, by Josh Cassidy in wheelchair racing. No Comments

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – JANUARY 24: Josh Cassidy of Canada competes in the Men’s 5000m T54 heat during day three of the IPC Athletics Championships at QE II Park on January 24, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)


Multiple Canadian record holder, Josh Cassidy is on a high following his best ever world competition at last week’s IPC Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.  He finished 4th in the 10000m and 4th in the 5000m – a huge step up from the last world championships in 2006, where he didn’t make top 10.

On the track, a confident and strong Cassidy lead from the from the front, breaking up the pack with regular power surges, hitting a personal best top end speed and breaking an existing Championship record in the 5000m.


Triple Gold medalist at Christchurch, Britain’s David Weir says Cassidy is the only guy who panicked him in the 5000m final. Said Weir,  “Josh is strong, able to sustain a high top end speed which means I have to work really hard to chase him down when he breaks”.

Cassidy’s build up in performance appears to be perfectly pitched at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  On top of his improved top end during the race, if he can pull off an increase in his finishing speed, then podium placings and medals must surely just be a matter of time.

In the 10000m, the rain came down which is a big challenge for racers, dealing with grip in the wet.  Off the gun, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, Japan’s Kota Hokinoue, and Cassidy broke away immediately, with the Thai, Prawat Wahouram, catching up shortly thereafter.  Each took a turn attacking before settling in for the final sprint.  Frustratingly, Josh slipped his grip in the final 200m finishing 4th, one second short of third, one and a half seconds short off first.

In his 5000m, Cassidy had a blistering semi-final, kicking on the final lap, then easing to bump fists in congratulations with Marcel Hug of Switzerland as they coasted across the finish line, setting a Championships record. In the final, Cassidy got the pace going and everyone into single file. Japan’s Masazumi Soejima took a surprising few laps from the front, with Dave Weir and Marcel Hug sitting comfortably at the back the entire race.  Cassidy attacked, got a good 50m, forcing Dave and Marcel to sprint hard to catch up.  Cassidy recovered easily from his attack and fell in behind Weir and Hug as they dropped back down the pack – they would be the fastest in the last lap.  The three attacked on the final lap, coming from the back with Cassidy finished 4th.

Said Cassidy, “During the race I maxed the highest speed I have ever hit on the track, at 36.2 km/h.  I felt like I was the strongest one of the group, I just didn’t have the highest speed at the end.  I played everything as perfectly as I could have I think.” Canadian coach, Ueli Albert, told Cassidy after the race: “that was incredible to watch, it was like you were creating art out there”.


Huge Marathon Controversy

The Marathon,  saw Cassidy pull off the start line by coaches on safety grounds.   Controversially, the roads used for the marathon route were not ‘closed’ on race day and were open to traffic.  Canadian and Great Britain coaches deemed this to be too dangerous.

For the Marathon, Cassidy, winner of the 2010 London Marathon, had prepared long and hard but around 11pm, the night before the race, the nations were informed that the marathon route would not be closed but it would be open to traffic. “This was unbelievable, unheard of, let alone in a World Championship event”, said Cassidy, “We train on the roads with traffic at times, but to race a marathon, in packs, going through intersections when you are focusing on the competitors around you… is crazy. It was absolutely unbelievable. For this to happen at a World Championships.”

Cassidy did line up on race day but at the last minute coaches pulled Canadian athletes off the line.  Britain also pulled out.  While the other nations competed, their dissatisfaction was evident. Cassidy said, “It was horrible that coaches and athletes were put in such a position where they would have to choose.  I believe one athlete was injured after a truck was backing out onto the marathon course.  Australia’s Kurt Fearnley went on to win and totally deserved the victory”.



In Summary

On reflection, Cassidy’s commented “I was very satisfied with my performances.  A year and half out from the London 2012 Games, and I’m well on track.  I was one spot out, and very close to the podium on two occasions.  The marathon, I’ll never know for sure. But those races that went well, I didn’t just sit back, I was a dominating force throughout, and felt no fatigue after any of the events.  I couldn’t have been any more fit, and while I would liked to have been faster in the final sprint, I still hit a personal best top speed on the track.  There are lots of positives to take from this. I’m looking VERY forward to London 2012, and excited to see what I can do by then.”

10000m times

1 1837 HUG Marcel T54 SUI  22:16.83

2 1542 HOKINOUE Kota T54 JPN 22:17.20

3 1868 WAHORAM Prawat T54 22:17.30

4 1146 CASSIDY Josh T54 CAN 22:18.21

5000m times

1 1395 WEIR David T54 GBR 5 JUN 1979 2 10:48.43

2 1837 HUG Marcel T54 SUI 16 JAN 1986 4 10:48.70

3 1355 CASOLI Julien T54 FRA 5 JUL 1982 8 10:48.97

4 1146 CASSIDY Josh T54 CAN 15 NOV 1984 3 10:49.28

Pre comp in Oz- Contemplating game plan it looks like

Training at Stadium

Landmark Cathedral from the square. Our hotel was next door, sadly this was reduced to rubble a few days ago in the latest earthquake

5000m Semi. Looking back, didn't know I dropped the pack from the front.

Waited for Soejima and Marcel to bridge the gap, worked together to ensure qualification

Pushing the pace in the 5000 semi

Pushing the pace


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