Wheelchair racer claims third medal
By BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun
Jason Lachance will have three chunks of metal to declare at Customs when he returns to Ottawa from the Sydney Paralympics next week.
The 19-year-old Gloucester athlete won his third medal at the Games yesterday, capturing silver in the men's 400-metre wheelchair event at Stadium Australia.
Kazuya Maeba of Japan won the gold, breaking Lachance's world record of 54.17 seconds.
Lachance finished in 54.78, more than a second ahead of Ross Davis of the U.S.
Lachance still owns world records in the 100 and 200 metre, but he said losing the gold and his global mark in the 400 was a big disappointment.
"I really wanted the 400," Lachance said yesterday during an interview with the Sun.
"To finish second and to lose the world record was a big blow at first. But I'm happy with the silver."
Lachance said he started the race too quickly, which caused fatigue in the final 100 metres.
"(Maeba) had enough juice to pass me in the end," said Lachance.
"My coach was telling me after that I was matching him stroke for stroke down the stretch, but that doesn't do much (good) if he's already passed you."
Yesterday's medal was the second silver for Lachance at the Games -- he was second behind Davis in the 100-metre event last Friday.
He won gold in the 200 metre on Sunday, setting a Paralympic record of 29.17 seconds, beating Maeba by .09 of a second.
"My goal coming here was to make it up on the podium just once," he said.
"I've done that, and more. I couldn't really ask for anything more and I have no regrets."
Lachance said he signed autographs for three hours after his victory.
"It's great because people are finally realizing that the Paralympics are a top-level athletic competition."
The Canadian team has 61 medals after yesterday's competition, including 21 golds.
"We have (61) compared to, what, 12? That's pretty sad," said Lachance, referring to the 14 medals the Canadian Olympic team won at last month's Summer Games.
"Our team is doing so well here," he said. "We knew we were a strong team coming here and I think we've shown that."
Lachance, along with other Ottawa-area teammates, returns home Tuesday night.
"We're so proud of him," said his mother, Donna.