August 8, 2001 - On Friday, August 10, 2001, Vancouver's Kelly Smith will go for gold at the IAAF World Championships in Edmonton. Smith competes in wheelchair athletics and has competed in the Boston Marathon and the Paralympics.
To compete in this final, athletes had to first compete in a quarter final and then semi-final heats back in June. The top 10 athletes in the world would then go onto Edmonton to compete in the finals.
Smith had a sixth place finish at the recent Boston Marathon, a fifth place finish at the Boston Marathon in 2000 and made the National Team in 1999, just three years after taking up the sport.
"Although in wheelchair racing athletes compete on a track the competitive likeness is more similar to cycling where athletes can be competitive at various distances," Smith explains.
"Like cycling wheelchair racers will draft each other in a pack. Typically at the front you will see the workhorses or the distance athletes pushing the pace trying to drop or tire the sprinters. The sprinters will be hanging out in the draft jockeying for a good position to sprint on the last lap. These tactics will change depending on the strategic styles of the athletes in the field."
The men's wheelchair 1500m finals begin at 8:45 PM on Friday. Another notable Canadian in the field is Jeff Adams who holds the world record in the 400m and won gold at the Paralympics in Sydney in the 1500m and 800m.
BC Wheelchair Sports Association recently launched their new website. For information on results, sports and elite athletes, contact www.bcwheelchairsports.com.
For more information contact
Kelly Smith at www.wheel-power.com
Director of Sport Development
BC Wheelchair Sports Association