Press Release- Cassidy on Track for Gold
Josh Cassidy, the Toronto based Paralympian, is now a serious contender for Gold in London 2012 following his record breaking performance amongst the world’s elite wheelchair racers in Australia two weeks ago.
Cassidy is Canada’s number one in his class and world ranked in the top 5 for the past three years, he finished a respectable 10th overall in the 5000m at the 2008 Paralympic Games.
Up until now, Paralympic podium athletes haven’t really felt threatened by Cassidy; but that changed when he scared them good and proper at the ‘Summer Down Under’ wheelchair meet 20th to 26thJanuary.
He warmed up in the 10,000m, Canberra, setting a new Canadian record time of 20:17.84 placing him in 4th, 4 seconds behind winner; Beijing Marathon Gold medalist, Australian, Kurt Fearnley.
In Sidney, he surprised the 800m field, taking 2nd in 1:37.89, just 0.18 seconds behind Britain’s David Weir, Gold medalist in Beijing 2008.
But it was Cassidy’s 1500m performance that sent out the warning to the rest of the world. For the first time ever, Cassidy beat Weir (the world record holder) by 0.03 seconds and only lost out on 1stplace by an arbitrary one hundredth of a second in the incredible three way photo finish to Australian, Kurt Fearnley which took officials 20 minutes to decide. His time 3.04.05.
It was 4th place for Cassidy in the 5000m in 10:29.71. He was lucky to finish at all, being thrown off line in a near crash but made up a remarkable 80m on three world class athletes to finish 0.59 seconds behind first place Marcel Hug of Sitzerland.
In the grand finale, the Oz Day 10K road race, Cassidy broke early from the pack leading to the 9km mark. He was caught only at the last turn before the final stretch. A fierce battle ensued between Fearnley, Weir, Hokinoue of Japan and Cassidy. Fearnley sprinted to a four second victory but it was a split second finish between 2nd, 3rd and 4th, all finishing on 21.17.
Is Cassidy upping his game? Does he have what it takes to take his place on a London Paralympic podium? Well, it looks that way; his message from Australia was loud and clear – “you better watch out, the Canadian is coming!”
Oz day 10K
“I really felt great, it felt really easy, next time I won’t get caught up in that last turn and it will be a different finish”.
“I raced this race today for friend and wheelchair racing legend Clayton Gerein who passed away a few days ago… I really wanted to win this for him, but I think he would have been pleased with the effort”
T54 10,000m Canadian Record
“This was one of the hardest races I have ever done on the track, and I am so happy with the performance considering how early on it is in the season… I am working on my strength and stamina with my coach so I can’t wait to see what I can do when I am really great shape”.