(Montreal) Before his race on Monday, Guillaume Ouellet had not taken part in any international competition since the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. The Quebecer did not let anything show on the track at the Charléty stadium in Paris, where he won the bronze medal in the 5000m T13 (visually impaired athletes) at the Para-Athletics Championships.
Ouellet completed the distance in 15 minutes and 22.85 seconds. The gold medal was won by Spaniard Yassine Ouhdadi El Ataby ahead of Australian Jaryd Clifford (1.26 seconds).
“Obviously I’m happy with the result and the medal that comes with it, but beyond that I’m happy with the way I raced. It’s really a beautiful moment,” he said in an interview with Sportcom.
The Spaniard, the defending Paralympic champion, took the lead in the race on the first lap, but he quietly slowed the pace at the first kilometer mark. The Kenyan John Lokedi then took the lead until halfway through the race when Ouhdadi El Ataby returned to the charge.
Behind, Ouellet was battling for second place with Australian Clifford, Paralympic vice-champion. It was with 600 meters to go that the athlete from Victoriaville made the decision to attack and he momentarily found himself in first place. He was however caught by Ouhdadi El Ataby and Clifford who then battled for victory.
“It was still a weird race. I’m not really used to running that way. After being first for a few seconds, I got caught, but I stayed close to the lead group with John Lokedi and accelerated to the maximum in the last 100 meters,” explained Ouellet.
Over the past two years, the Quebecer has refined the last kilometer of his races. A work that was certainly beneficial on Monday in his conquest of the bronze medal.
“I knew the last mile was going to be intense and I wanted to prepare accordingly. It’s difficult to manage a 5000m race well, you have to have a good execution to save the maximum energy at the end. You have to speed up, but you mustn’t get burned. I think I managed everything well and the result proves it a little. »
One year from the Paralympic Games in Paris, the 36-year-old athlete could not have asked for better preparation for this major event.
“It will almost be a cut and paste next year, except it will be a bit later in the season. I am happy to have been able to experience the travel and the jet lag this week. The conditions will be much the same at the Paralympic Games and I see that my recipe is good. This is the best possible practice for next year,” he concluded.
The next Quebecer in action at the World Para-Athletics Championships in Paris will be Brent Lakatos, who will compete in the 500m in the T53 class on July 11. Anthony Bouchard (400m T52) will also be there, he will take part in a first race on Thursday July 13th.