Seven-time Paralympic medalist Brent Lakatos is back on the track on Friday morning, as his fifth Paralympic Games gets underway.
The 5,000-metre (T54) is the first of Lakatos’ six events, including the 100-, 400-, 800-, 1,500-metre races, as well as the marathon.
Coming into Tokyo, the Canadian still feels the excitement international competition provides.
“I can’t wait to finally line up against the best in the world,” said Lakatos, in a press release. “I will do my best to have our national anthem playing as many times as possible.”
The Dorval, Quebec, native began his Paralympic journey in 2004 at Athens, when he competed in the 200-metre sprint. Lakatos was unable to medal, but the event provided a valuable learning experience.
Since his first Paralympic appearance, now-UK resident has honed his craft and the results show it.
Lakatos found the podium at the Paralympic games in London, winning three silver medals on the track. He followed that up with even more success in Rio, capturing four more medals, including a gold in the 100-metre sprint.
Between cancelled qualifiers and a wrist injury, the Para athletic medalist has had to adapt to a modified training regimen.
“It’s been a difficult couple of years, but the goal that all athletes work towards is finally here,” said Lakatos.
All his previous Paralympic medals were won in the 100- to 800-metre range, but in Tokyo, he will look to add a new event to his trophy case.
The 41-year-old has podiumed at least three times in the 5,000-metre race during international competition, including a second-place finish at the 2018 Daniela Jutzeler Memorial. Lakatos is aiming to replicate that result over the weekend, in his first time at that distance on the Paralympic stage.
The second heat of the 5,000-metre will begin Friday morning at 7:54 EST, and the finals will commence on Saturday morning at 7:24 EST.